Friday, February 3, 2023

Business owner speaks out after mass riots on Jackson St, calling for more police presence

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) – Alexandria business owners must look for new ways to keep their business and employees safe after a massive crowd had to be dispersed onto Jackson Street by the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office after a disturbance was reported.

Alexander Pebbles, owner of Shipley Do-Nuts, said he saw videos circulating on social media over the weekend showing several dozen people in the Bayview parking lot off Jackson St. in the early morning before crossing the street to his business. and a nearby gas station where a fight broke out. According to the RPSO, multiple people were arrested and three citations were issued by deputies.

Pebbles said that unfortunately such events happen all too often.

“It’s disappointing to see people being so careless here and disrespectful,” Pebbles said. “There’s a lot of disorder and chaos, but that’s nothing unusual here at that hour.”

Pebbles refers to an incident a few months ago when a vehicle crashed into his business late at night, leaving a giant hole in the wall and breaking a gas line, causing him to close the business for several days. . He joins other concerned businesses nearby who are calling on the administration and law enforcement to provide more protection.

“I would say we need more law enforcement presence,” Pebbles said. “No one is watching. People act when there are no consequences.”

RPSO is continuing to investigate the situation and is reviewing surveillance video from that night. Sheriff Mark Wood said it’s possible more citations could still be issued.

News Channel 5 asked Sheriff Wood why only three citations were issued that night.

“Sometimes on social media, they’ll show certain things and not the whole aspect of what happened,” Sheriff Wood said. “There were only a few women who fought and we were able to separate them and secure them without any problem. Then we dispersed the crowd.”

The sheriff said he had become more aware of the large crowds gathering on Jackson St. on weekends and plans to have an increased police presence and patrol units in the area.

For business owners in the area like Shipley Do-Nuts, they said they are tired of fearing for the safety of their employees when they come to work early in the morning and have to fight through the crowds and trash parking lots.

“It’s very depressing,” Pebbles said. “I’ve been here my whole life and my family has been in business in this community for over 50 years, and it’s disappointing.”

Pebbles said he has been in contact with law enforcement about those concerns. He added that at first, the Alexandria Police Department and Chief Ronney Howard were responsive and advised them to put up employee-only parking signs. However, Pebbles said since then he hasn’t had much help from APD and the signs haven’t worked, resulting in cars having to be towed from his lot.

If anyone has any information about this incident, please contact the RPSO at 318-473-6700 or APD Dispatch at 318-441-6559.

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