LaGrange looking for solutions to teen violence

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2023

With a second teen murder in less than 30 days, community leaders are again looking to find a solution to fatal youth violence in LaGrange.

On Saturday evening, 16-year-old Nasir Truitt was shot and killed near Southbend Skate Park. Another teen, 15-year-old Brandon Harrison, Jr, was arrested for the fatal shooting the following day and charged as an adult for the murder.

The murder of Truitt occurred exactly one month after 15-year-old Quendarrious Woodyard was shot and killed on Whitesville Road on Feb. 4. 

LaGrange Councilman Quay Boddie and others are fed up and are looking to do something about the senseless killings.

“It literally has reached a breaking point with me. This should not be happening. Point blank period. Nobody should be murdered or have their life taken, but especially someone this young,” Boddie said. “These senseless things, senseless killings and senseless violence has to stop,” Boddie said. “It’s unacceptable. We have been talking about doing different things for so long when it comes to this.”

Boddie said that many organizations have started youth initiatives to try to quell youth violence in LaGrange, but it still continues.

“We’re going to need all of those organizations. We’re going to need every parent. We’re going to need every school teacher, every pastor to help rectify this situation. We’re going to need all hands on deck,” Boddie said. “We are going to have to come together with different initiatives. We’re going to come together with solutions. This is not a Black thing or a White thing. It’s not any particular race type of thing. Even though, of course, there are African Americans that are in the midst of all of this. It could be any race, any day or anytime.”

The shootings do appear to be occurring at any time. During a prayer vigil after the second shooting, it was suggested that a juvenile curfew might be needed, but Interim Police Chief Dale Strickland said there already is a curfew.

“Currently, there is a state curfew for juveniles. There already is one and of course, this event was early in the evening,” Strickland said.

The shooting near the park occurred around 7:30 p.m. and the Whitesville Rd. shooting occurred around 7:47 p.m.

The shootings also aren’t exclusive to teens. Alan Dale Huguley, Jr., 30, was shot and killed near the Jameson Inn on Jan. 28.

Boddie said he and others are in the process of starting a six-week initiative called “Operation We Believe in You.”

“We will be holding a meeting on Sunday, March 12 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Leete Hill UMC on Hamilton Rd,” Boddie said. “In this meeting, we will be discussing youth and young adult initiatives in order to expedite good functioning solutions to our problems at hand. It’s going to take everybody, every organization, every pastor, every teacher, every community leader coming together to help save our youth and young adults,” Boddie said, asking parents to come and bring their kids.