ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) – Alexandria business owners are having to search for new ways to keep their business and employees safe after a massive crowd had to be broken up on Jackson Street by the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office after a disturbance was reported.
Alexander Pebbles, the owner of Shipley Do-Nuts, said he saw the videos circulating on social media over the weekend showing several dozen people in the Bayview parking lot off of Jackson St. in the early morning before moving across the street to his business and a nearby gas station where a fight broke out. According to RPSO, multiple people were detained and three citations were issued by deputies.
Pebbles said unfortunately events like this happen far too often.
“It’s disappointing to see that people are that careless here and have no more respect,” said Pebbles. “There’s a lot of disorder and chaos but that’s nothing out of the ordinary here at that hour.”
Pebbles is referring to an incident several 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 business for several days. He joins other concerned businesses nearby that are calling on the administration and law enforcement to provide more protection.
“I would say we need more law enforcement present,” said Pebbles. “Nobody is watching. People act up when there are no consequences.”
RPSO is continuing to investigate the situation and is checking the surveillance video from that night. Sheriff Mark Wood said it is possible that 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 will show certain things and not the whole aspect of what happened,” said Sheriff Wood. “There was just a few females that had the altercation, and we were able to get them apart and secure them with no problems. We then dispersed the crowd.
The sheriff said he has been made more aware of large crowds gathering on Jackson St. during the weekends and plans to have more police presence and patrol units in that area.
For business owners in that area like Shipley Do-Nuts, they said they are tired of fearing for their employees’ safety when they come in for work early in the morning and have to fight through the crowd and trashed parking lots.
“It’s very disheartening,” said Pebbles. “I’ve been here all my life and my family has been in business in this community for well over 50 years, and it’s disappointing.”
Pebbles said he has been in contact with law enforcement regarding these 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 he has since not had much help from APD and the signs have not worked, which has resulted in cars having to be towed from his lot.
If anyone has any information about this incident, please contact RPSO at 318-473-6700 or APD Dispatch at 318-441-6559.
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