AN ANSWER TO GUN VIOLENCE?: Gun violence is on the rise in Shreveport, Louisiana. There have been 37 homicides reported for the city in the first 7 months of 2020, the most homicides reported for the same period since 2014. Yesterday local and federal law enforcement authorities held a press conference in front of the Tom Stagg United States Courthouse downtown to announce an effort aimed at curbing gun violence. Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced more was going to be done at the federal level.
"All of this violent crime is primarily driven by illegal possession of guns and illegal trafficking of narcotics," Van Hook said. "So to address this problem, we are adding additional resources to our Project Guardian and Operation LeGend initiatives."
Project Guardian began in 2019 as a nationwide strategic plan to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Operation Legend began in larger cities, it was named after four-year old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while asleep in bed early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City, Missouri.
"The aim of Project Guardian is to coordinate federal, state, and local law enforcement to tackle violent crime together," Van Hook explained. "We want Shreveport to be a safe place to raise families, to go to school, to go to work and just live every day free from fear."
U.S. Attorney Van Hook explained that that the initiatives would use federal resources and charge suspects of violent gun-related crimes using federal laws that could keep them off the streets as they await trial.
"Taking a violent offender off the street while let them sitting in ail while they await their trial removes the threat that they provide to the citizens to this city," Van Hook said.
Van Hook said the United States attorney's office, the ATF, the FBI and the DEA are committed to working with local law enforcement to bring additional federal prosecutions and investigations and also added that citizens should engage with local law enforcement and report those who are committing gun-related crimes in their neighborhood.