Evangeline

Jun 8, 2011 10:22 PM by Maddie Garrett

One of First Witnesses Recounts Ville Platte Shootings

More information about Tuesday's double murder suicide surfaces only a day after the shooting in downtown Ville Platte. One of the first witnesses on the scene describes what happened in an exclusive interview with KATC, and the shooter's family issues a statement about the incident.

The witnesses doesn't want his identity revealed, but said they were one of the first people on the scene after they heard gun shots outside their office.

What they saw was one of the Louisiana Department of Insurance investigators, Rhett Jeansonne, wounded in front of Lavergne's Insurance Company, and the other agent, Kim Sledge, apparently already dead near the doorway. The witness said they tried to help the victims along with others nearby.

"We started hollering at bystanders to stay back and go back to where they were coming from because at that point we didn't know, we knew he was still armed, with a gun, and we didn't know where he was at that point," said the witness.

Witnesses also said they believe the two agents had been inside Lavergne's for about half an hour before he opened fire on them, and that Lavergne may have shot himself not long after.

"The third bystander that was, that came out of the office where Mr. Melvin was, did hear an additional gun shot after the two people were shot," said the witness.

This witness said they are hesitant to fully describe everything they heard and saw Tuesday afternoon.

"I know it's the real scene and all, but to me the family members wouldn't want the complete graphics... It's a pretty horror story you know," said the witness.

Tuesday, Lavergne's Insurance sat boarded up and closed. But even though the scene was cleared, it's still very difficult for people on Court Street to return to normal.

"It's been very, very difficult to focus. Every minute you catch yourself thinking about the situation even though it's been resolved," said the witness.

The Lavergne family also grieving a day after the shootings, issuing this statement:

"Words cannot express the grief and sorrow we feel for the families of Rhett Jeansonne and Kim Sledge. We pray that God grants them the courage and strength to face the aftermath of this senseless tragedy."

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