3 bystanders shot, another victim trampled after gunfire erupts at Hammond graduation

HAMMOND — Three innocent bystanders were shot dead after an argument turned into gunfire as students and family members left a high school graduation on Thursday night. A fourth victim was injured in the ensuing stampede as people fled to safety.

The shooting happened around 8 p.m. as crowds poured out of the University Center on Southeastern Louisiana University’s campus after Hammond High’s graduation ceremony.

Police said no students were shot and none were involved in the confrontation.

Hammond Police Chief Edwin Bergeron identified the suspect as 20-year-old Trent Thomas. He faces charges of attempted second degree murder, obstruction of justice, aggravated property damage and possession of a firearm in a school zone.

Thomas was taken into custody shortly after the shooting and questioned overnight. The Hammond Police Department said the confrontation was gang-related and they believe at least one other person fired the shots. Chief Bergeron added that more arrests are likely.

An eyewitness said he found his daughter in the crowd at 8:16 p.m. “And (we were) on the phone with 911 at 8:17 p.m.,” the witness said, adding that she came back inside calling the police.

The witness said it appeared that one victim, a man, had been shot in the stomach. Another person was shot in the hand.

Three of the victims were discharged from hospital on Friday morning, and the fourth remains hospitalized in stable condition.

Superintendent Melissa Stilley said students at Hammond High will have a virtual day on Friday and will not show up to the school campus.


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