Security Guard at Moore Park Shooting: ‘One of the Worst Things I’ve Ever Seen’
For Donnell Lewis, the recent shooting at Moore Park is an experience that he will never forget.
Lewis was hired to work security for a party held at Moore Park last week but unfortunately, the function ended with a fatal shooting. Lewis told Megan Wyatt with The Advocate that it was "one of the most traumatic experiences of his life."
That was one of the worst things I've ever seen, and I've been to Iraq twice. I've never seen nothing like this. It was like hell. This was a whole bunch of kids. That was like my little brothers and sisters out there.
Donnell Lewis is a military veteran and a former police officer. He has spent the last 15 years working security in the nightclub and event industry so violence is part of his job but Lewis tells The Advocate something about the Moore Park shooting "was different."
Two teenagers (ages 18 and 19) were killed in the fatal shooting incident and another two (ages 18 and 20) were injured but police still aren't sure how many shots were fired or how many shooters were involved. No arrests have been made but Lewis believes there were at least two shooters.
Lewis estimates that between 20 and 30 shots were fired, which he believes came from at least two different weapons. He said the weapons sounded like an assault rifle and a handgun, and he said he thinks two people were shooting at each other.
He captured the aftermath of the shooting in a Facebook Live video that opened up with police on the scene. Lewis can be heard pointing the responding officers toward areas of the park where victims had been hit by gunfire.
Lewis tells The Advocate he was working the event that was slated to be an unofficial after-party for last week's UL football game. The gathering was held on the northern side of Moore Park in an area that was accessible by West Pont des Mouton Road. When Lewis took the security gig, he was expecting about 50 people to be at the party. Instead, he showed up to an event that had approximately 500-600 people—a crowd size that Lewis said would "require at least five more security guards to manage."
I'm seriously not trying to exaggerate, but there were 5- to 600 people. I work at a lot of clubs in downtown Lafayette and the rest of the area, and I've never seen that many people at a party.
That large crowd size is what also led Lewis to make a decision to NOT use his weapon to intervene.
I don't want to get hit by any one of these kids. and I'm definitely not trying to shoot an innocent kid either. There was so much stuff happening in the parking lot.
As police continue to investigate, a discussion about park security has reentered the forefront as some believe the large gathering would have been shut down before it had the chance to escalate to a point where the shooting took place. The Advocate reports that the Lafayette Police Department is currently responsible for monitoring and patrolling all of the parks in Lafayette after the Park Police were eliminated in a "larger cut" made by Mayor-President Josh Guillory.
Guillory's 2021 budget cut about $325,000 in personnel salaries for the Park Police chief, along with all five officers. It was part of a larger cut that eliminated 37 positions in parks and recreation and aimed to close for rec centers. The Police Association of Lafayette criticized the cuts to park security, as well as others in Guillory's budget, in a July statement. The Park Police chief, Oscar Benoit, retired in August.
Moore Park isn't known as a place for late-night parties, a point that Lewis made during his interview with The Advocate, which may be why there weren't frequent patrols from LPD, but Lewis said the DJ at the event told him it wasn't the first time they threw a party in that specific parking lot of Moore Park.
After going through this experience, Lewis doesn't think he will be doing any more teen events.
I'd like to send my condolences to the family members and those who lost their loved ones. That was the craziest thing I saw right there. Out of all those kids, some of my cousins were out there, and it could have easily been one of them. I wouldn't want to see nobody's family go through that. It's like I don't even want my kids to go to parties after witnessing this. I'd rather stay home and play Call of Duty with them.
Lafayette Police are urging the public to come forth with any videos from the party or on social media that may give them information or evidence that can lead to an arrest.
Witnesses can submit photos and videos to lafayettepd.evidence.com/axon/citizen/public/moorepark and are asked to include their name, date of birth and phone number on the secure page.
Get more information and read more on this story via The Advocate.