Hammond Shooting: “We are investigating possible gang affiliation of sorts”

We are now learning new details into the shooting at a high school graduation at Southeastern University in Hammond, La.

Southeastern University Police arrested Trent Thomas, 20, of Hammond, within minutes of the shooting that took place around 8:150pm on May 19, 2022. He’s charged with:

3 counts attempt second-degree murder

1 count possession of gun in gun free zone

1 count obstruction of justice


Originally, officials said four people were shot. They have since said three people were shot, all with non-life threatening injuries. A fourth person was injured as they were trying to escape the scene. Three of the four injured have been released from the hospital. The fourth person, who remains in the hospital, is listed in stable condition.

“At some point, there was an altercation between our suspect that we have in custody and another group of people, Specifically one individual who is a juvenile so we’re not going to release his name. He is a person of interest. We do know that unfortunately, the victims who were shot, had nothing to do with it,” said Hammond Police Chief Edwin Bergeron Jr.

“Right now, we are investigating possible gang affiliation of sorts. We’re not 100% sure of that but that is a potential. We believe that both of them were here, both groups as well as the person we have in custody. They were here to watch the graduation of a friend of theirs or somebody they know at which point they came across each other at the University Center where we are now around here, which is where all the kids come out after the graduation so we do believe that that could be a motive as we move forward,” said Chief Bergeron.

Chief Bergeron said they do believe there will be more arrests and that there was more than one shooter, two is what they believe.

Southeastern University Police Chief Michael Beckner said they have three more graduations upcoming at Southeastern University this weekend. People will only be allowed inside the graduation with phones and cameras, no bags.

“These are the last three of the year. After that, the University will meet and we will start reviewing some protocols and some other safety measures that we can take to mitigate some of these risks,” said Chief Beckner.

“The sad thing is people bring guns to event like this when it should be a joyous moment for people that have spent the last 12 years of their life to come to a graduation and then all of a sudden we end up in a situation like this,” said Chief Bergeron.

“We want justice to be served. Graduation is a very special time for our seniors and their families. It was very sad that it ended in a very very violent way,” said Superintendent of schools Melissa Stilley.

Hundreds of people were at the stadium packed with family members and friends. The graduation had just wrapped up when the shooting took place.

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