Is community reacting differently to violence? It’s possible, Stassi says

Staff Report

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said he has seen a different type of reaction from the community in the wake of the most recent homicide in the area.

The reaction comes from the July 11 shooting at the corner of Barrow and Hebert Street that took the life of Telly Jackson Jr., 23. He died from a single gunshot wound.

Bretton Williams, 22, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Jackson, who died at a local hospital.

Williams is in custody at Iberville Parish Jail.

Detectives learned that Jackson and Williams had a previous altercation.

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi says he has seen a shift in the community's mindset toward violent crime.

When they met again, the encounter turned deadly after Williams produced a firearm, firing several shots, striking Jackson,” Stassi said.

Response in the community caught the sheriff by surprise.

“They’re not blaming this or blaming that, … it looks like they understand that we’ve all lost something,” he said. “There are no winners in this game.”

While the response is different, Stassi is hoping that it perhaps represents a turning point for the parish.

“I’m hoping families in Iberville have finally reached that point that they realize this isn’t a law enforcement problem – it’s a community problem,” he said. “It’s almost common, and that’s sad.

“I hope this is the start of something new, and an understanding that we have to live together,” he said. “We’re killing each other off, and that’s not the way to do things.”

Stassi said he has met with Plaquemine Police Chief Kenny Payne and has offered to boost the amount of sheriff’s department units in the city.

“This is not about us trying to take over, but to increase the presence of law enforcement,” Stassi said.

Pictured are some of the firearms sheriff’s deputies have confiscated in recent weeks as part of a crackdown on youth violence.

A more proactive approach to issues in the “problem areas” has already brought some progress, most notably in the seizure of firearms.

Pictured are some of the firearms sheriff’s deputies have confiscated in recent weeks as part of a crackdown on youth violence.

“And we’re not talking about no Saturday Night Special … we’re talking about some serious firepower,” Stassi said. “Proactive policing is not easy for law enforcement, and not easy for parents and grandparents to understand. But to do nothing is just not an option.”

Stassi described increased presence as “a tightrope” amid the issues with police nationwide and much of the blame landing on the backs of law enforcement officers.

But law enforcement cannot ignore violence, he said.

“I’m not saying my deputies will always be right. But if you to what ask you’re to do and they something wrong, there’s several layers by which we can correct that problem, but anything other than that, we can’t correct,” Stassi said. “I feel good about our chances in Iberville, and I hope we’ve reached the turning point, and hopefully we can move on as a community.”