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Shooting leaves one dead at GSU alumni party

UAPB student killed, three injured at unsanctioned event in Bienville Parish
Nancy Bergeron
Monday, November 7, 2022
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A student manager of the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff football team is dead and three other UAPB students injured after gunfire erupted early Sunday morning during an unsanctioned Grambling State University alumni afterparty in Bienville Parish.

Terrence Lewis, 20, of New Orleans, was fatally shot while he was in a car with three other people reportedly leaving a party attended by thousands of people at the Bonnie & Clyde Trade Days grounds on Hwy. 9 south of Arcadia, Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance said Monday.

As of Monday afternoon, investigators had no leads in the shooting.

“We don’t know what started it or anything,” Ballance said.

Anyone having information on the shooting should call the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Department at 263-2215 and speak to Lt. Skil Skapura or Lt. Sharonda Bell, or message Ballance on the BPSO’s Facebook page.

UAPB had played GSU in the homecoming football game only hours before the fatal incident.

UAPB Chancellor Lawrence B. Alexander notified the university community of Lewis’ death in a letter dated Sunday.

“While not on official duty with the (UAPB football) team, he traveled to Louisiana to celebrate Grambling State University’s homecoming and attended an off-campus unsanctioned party where a shooting took place,” Alexander wrote. “According to law enforcement he was not involved in any incident that led to the shooting and was an innocent bystander.”

Two other passengers in the same vehicle as Lewis suffered minor injuries from bullet fragments, Ballance said.

“We were told they were leaving Bonnie & Clyde and got hit,” Ballance said.

A fourth person, who told investigators he was also at the party, evidently drove himself to Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport with a gunshot wound to the leg.

GSU spokesperson Tisha Arnold said the Bienville Parish incident “is unrelated to Grambling State University or homecoming week festivities.”

She referred questions to the BPSO.

Ballance said his office received a 911 call about 1:30 a.m. Sunday saying shots had been fired at the trade days site. Most of the crowd had left by then, Ballance said.

He said his office was unaware of the party, which reportedly drew 3,000 people, because Bienville Parish has no permitting requirements or ordinances restricting large gatherings, and the venue owners did not notify him about the event.

“Nobody who was promoting it called us,” he said.

Ballance said the event organizer reportedly hired security, but the open-air space was poorly lit, and no extra lighting had been brought in.

At least eight people have come forward thus far saying their vehicles where hit by the gunfire, the sheriff said.

Deputies recovered around 50 shell casings, ranging from small-caliber pistols to high-powered rifles.

Meantime, two traffic-related incidents on homecoming weekend in which pedestrians were hit reportedly occurred on the GSU campus; one Friday night and the other Saturday night. Details concerning the incidents were not available as of midafternoon Monday.

Over the past several years, GSU’s homecoming weeks have been beset by tragedies.

Last year, three people died and at least 11 more were injured in three separate shootings that occurred homecoming week. Two of the incidents happened on campus four days apart; the other at an after-party just outside the Grambling city limits.

In 2017, two Farmerville men, one a GSU student and the other a visitor, were killed in the courtyard between Wheatley and Bowen dormitories.