Arrests Made in Hispanic Shootings

Friday, March 13, 2009 - 5:33pm

There is a sense of relief for residents of a Baton Rouge apartment complex. Police made two arrests in a series of attacks on Hispanic men. Police say these young men have been on the run long enough, especially since they are wanted in Houma for similar crimes including murder.

It’s been nearly a month since two Hispanic men were robbed and shot at Myrtle Place Apartments on Boulevard de Province. Owner Eddie Zayed, who spoke to us by phone, says he’s relived the suspects are off the streets. “I feel better, relieved. The police enforcement and the law authorities took the initiative and worked hard to capture those guys.”

On Thursday, U.S. Marshals arrested 18-year-old Anthony Hatcher and 17-year-old Dominique Vallier. Within the gates is still a fear that lurks throughout the community, a fear that violence could erupt at anytime despite the recent arrests. “If they think you said something they coming at you, and if you’re weak you’re going to get caught, you just got to be ready.”

A tenant, who asked that we shield his identity, says although police are charging the men with hate crimes against Hispanics, the violence in the complex goes beyond targeting a particular race. “The problem is drugs and prostitution, that’s the problem.”

Police have not confirmed those allegations and while they are still shaken up over the attacks, the people who call Myrtle Place home say things are improving. “It’s sad it has to be this way, but between the owner and the police department with Chief LeDuff and them it’s getting better, much better, 100 % better.”

Apartment managers say they hope to fix the security gates at the complex to help keep criminals out. Both men face multiple charges including first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery. The men are also wanted in Houma for the murder of a Puerto Rican man.