Prairieville, LA (FOX44) — The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office says a post on a popular social media site turned a small gathering into an out-of-control party that ending with one person getting shot.
The party took place at a home on Daigle Road on Saturday. According to the Sheriff's Office, a young woman chose to hold a party while her parents were out of town.
"And suddenly, out of nowhere, dozens and dozens of people, both friends and strangers start showing up," said Chief Deputy Tony Bacala, "and I think it was a given that the way they had found out was social media."
One of the host's friends posted details of the party on Instagram. A few people became approximately 60. The Sheriff's Department said a couple of fights started among groups of kids. One group of kids tried to drive away to escape a fight, but in the process, three of them shot towards the crowd, hitting one man in the ankle. He was taken to a hospital, treated for his injuries, and released.
"It's very rare that they escalate to the point where shots are being fired," Bacala claimed. But he added that social media is to blame for a lot of parties getting out of control. Once information gets posted, there is no way to stop it from spreading or to control who shows up.
"That's kind of a common occurrence, but what usually ends up happening is somebody brings a keg of beer or something, and we end up responding to alcohol issues with children," he said.
If teens want to make sure their party is as fun as they planned, Bacala said there is only one solution.
"It's pretty simple: I mean, don't advertise in advance that you're going to have a party," he stated. "Don't advertise while the party's going on. If you feel inclined to tell the world about your party, do it after it's over."
If a large group of uninvited people shows up to a party, and a teenager feels unsafe, Bacala said there is no shame in calling for help. "Certainly, we invite anybody, but teens in particular, if you have a gathering that gets out of hand, feel free, call the sheriff's office," he offered. "We will help you disperse those unwanted guests so that you can have a peaceful gathering among friends. We're here to help you; give us a call.
"It does tend to show that you're, in good faith, you had no intention for this party to turn into a free-for-all."
Four teens were arrested for their roles in the shooting: Austin Rashall, 18; Aronis Gonzalez, 18; a 16-year-old boy; and a 14-year-old boy.
Gonzalez and Rashall are both accused of shooting from the truck while they were backing out of the driveway to leave the party. They remained in jail Wednesday evening.
The 16-year-old is also accused of shooting from the truck. The 14-year-old is accused of being an accessory to the shooting, as well as possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. They both remained in juvenile detention Wednesday evening.
While they were investigating the shooting, detectives also arrested Shane and Rebecca Gonzalez, the parents of one of the 14-year-old. They were arrested on unrelated gun and drug charges, and were released on bond Wednesday evening.
Shane Gonzalez spoke to FOX44 Wednesday evening, shortly after being released from jail. He said a group of boys attacked his son and his son's friends at the party, and were mobbing his son's vehicle while they attempted to leave.
One of the teens told Gonzalez they were shooting at the ground to try to scare off their attackers.
Detectives arrived at the Gonzalez home on Monday. Gonzalez stated that they were looking for Rashall, whose truck was outside, in connection to the shooting. Rashall told Rebecca Gonzalez his mother kicked him out of their home, and he felt he had no other place to stay.
While they were searching the home, Gonzalez said the detectives found a jar with marijuana in the 14-year-old's room, as well as a scale. He told FOX44 he did not know his son used marijuana or sold it. In Shane and Rebecca Gonzalez' room, detectives found a loaded 9mm handgun, a handful of Xanax pills, and a couple of Adderall pills. Shane Gonzalez claimed his wife had a prescription for Xanax a couple years ago, and the Adderall came from a coworker. Detectives seized the handgun, as well as a .38 caliber revolver which may have been loaded, a rifle, and a shotgun. Gonzalez said that two of the guns were unregistered, but were purchased nearly two decades ago.
Shane and Rebecca Gonzalez were both charged with possession of marijuana, schedule II and schedule IV controlled substances, illegal carrying of weapons, and illegal use of dangerous substances in the presence of a minor.