Gonzales sees first homicide of 2011

Charlotte Guedry

Gonzales police officers were called to what turned into the first murder of the year for the city in the early hours of Saturday.

At 1:58 a.m., officers were dispatched to the Cracker Barrel gas station on Hwy. 30. According to City Police Chief Sherman Jackson, gunfire, in the form of several seperate shots, had been heard in the parking lot of the establishment.

When officers arrived at the scene, the parking lot was empty, and officers began a search of the area.

While officers were investigating the scene, they received a call from St. Elizabeth's Hospital, saying that a young man, Carlos Austin, 21, of 1208 W. Penn St., Gonzales, had come in with a gunshot wound. Within 20 minutes, Austin was pronounced dead. A bullet had entered his hip, hitting a main artery.

Around the same time, another call was received from Darren Paige, 21, of 921 W. Macci St., in Gonzales. According to Jackson, Paige stated that he had been involved in the shooting, and was at his apartment where he had put the gun in a drawer in his room.

Officers were dispatched to both the hospital, and to the apartment of Paige.

When officers arrived at Paige's residence, they found that he had sustained a wound to the mouth during a fight, and he was sent for medical attention.

Upon Paige's release, he was questioned by officers, who based on their findings, booked him on a count of the 2nd degree murder of Austin.

Also injured in the shooting was Jasmine Harris, 19, who received a flesh wound to her leg. Harris was an innocent bystander in the altercation.

Gonzales Chief of Police Sherman Jackson was saddened by the incident, stating, "This is a very sad situation for all involved. This altercation seems to have resulted from something very minor, and has now escalated into a situation  where a young man has lost his life. This senseless violence will not be tolerated in the city of Gonzales."