Gunfire Heard, Shreveport Riot Area Sealed Off
Heavily armed policemen sealed off a 12-block area Wednesday night after hearing sporadic gunfire in a riot-scarred neighborhood where a white woman allegedly shot a black man to death 24 hours earlier.
An emergency zone was expanded late Wednesday night in the Cedar Grove section soon after police rerouted traffic off a busy thoroughfare where blacks were throwing stones, bottles and bricks at passing cars.
No injuries or serious damage was reported Wednesday night, and there were no arrests reported in Louisiana’s third-largest city.
The white woman was accused of murder in Tuesday night’s shooting and six blacks were arrested during the rioting that ensued, police said.
Mayor John Hussey said the strategy Wednesday night was to wait out troublemakers. Scores of police cars, a busload of camouflaged Special Response Team officers and canine units were stationed at a command post nearby.
“The shooting that we have is sporadic,” Hussey said. “It’s still very much in a local area. The idea is to seal off the area. If you seal it off, don’t let any cars through, then there’s nothing for them to throw at.”
Although the atmosphere was tense, Police Chief Charles Gruber said it was nothing like what the city faced after the earlier rioting.
Wednesday night’s violence occurred hours after black leaders had called for Cedar Grove residents to stay calm and guard against a recurrence of the burning and looting of late Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
“We’re sitting on a powder keg,” said state Rep. Alphonse Jackson, who called for a biracial anti-crime committee.
“People want protection,” said Jackson, who is black. “I call on citizens to restore law and order.”
His plea followed a meeting of city officials and black leaders to discuss the rioting that persisted nearly five hours, until 3 a.m. Wednesday, and which officials said was related both to drugs and racial problems.
Stores were looted and burned, and rioters threw stones and bottles at whites.