Breaking News – Louisiana State Police Investigating Deputy-Involved Shooting in Winn Parish

**UPDATE**Louisiana State Police Investigating Deputy-Involved Shooting in Winn Parish

**On May 25, 2022, shortly after 5:00 p.m. the Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office (WPSO) requested that the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations (LSP BOI) investigate a deputy-involved shooting. The incident involved the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) and occurred on U.S. Highway 167 near Dodson. Detectives from LSP BOI responded to the scene.

The preliminary investigation revealed that deputies with JPSO responded to a disturbance at the Forest Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Jonesboro. As deputies approached the facility, they observed the suspect operating a vehicle that was leaving the scene. The suspect was later identified as 53-year-old Abe Banks of Jonesboro. Deputies attempted to stop Banks, but he refused to stop and a vehicle pursuit ensued. The pursuit continued south on U.S. Highway 167 into Winn Parish. During the pursuit, Banks’ vehicle had a mechanical failure and stopped in the roadway.

As deputies approached the vehicle, Banks did not comply with the deputies’ commands. During the incident, shots were fired and Banks was struck. Banks sustained severe injuries and was transported to a local hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries. No one else was injured during the incident.
The Louisiana State Police will serve as the lead investigative agency. This remains an active investigation and further information will be released when it becomes available.

See below for the original news release on May 25, 2022.

Original Story – May 25, 2022

Winn Parish – On May 25, 2022, shortly after 5:00 p.m. detectives assigned to the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations were requested by the Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office to investigate a deputy-involved shooting involving the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office on U.S. Highway 167 near Dodson.

One subject is deceased.

This is an active investigation and further information will be released when it becomes available. Motorists should find an alternate route if traveling through the area.

This story is developing and will be updated as details are reported.


The Winn Parish Police Jury / Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve Commission and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the scheduled drawdown of Saline Lake, in Natchitoches and Winn parishes, starting approximately June 1, 2022. The primary purpose is to control the growth of giant Salvinia during the upcoming summer months when growth potential is at its highest. The 2021 WLF aquatic vegetation management plan can be found on the LDWF website (Fisheries-Publications and Brochures-Inland Vegetation Management Plans-Saline Lake, Winn Parish).

The lake will dewater at a rate of 3 to 4 inches per day until it reaches a target drawdown level of 8 feet below the normal pool stage. The control gates will close on approximately October 1, 2022, to allow the lake to refill for fall, winter and early spring recreational activities.

During the drawdown, an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 acres of water will remain in the lake. Boaters can still access the main waterbody from the Mulligan Inn Boat Ramp with small craft, but caution is advised. Numerous additional obstructions will be present due to the lower water level.

This action is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and improve access to recreational activities. An annual cycle of high and low water fluctuation can provide beneficial effects similar to a natural overflow lake system.

During the drawdown, property owners have the option to take advantage of the low water to repair boat docks, seawalls, boat slips, etc. However, a Corp of Engineer permit is required from the USACE Regulatory Branch for any such activities in and around Saline Lake before any work is started. Basically, a shovel cannot be placed in the lake bottom until a permit is obtained.

Saline Lake is considered a Section 10 waterbody, and any work conducted over, in, or under the lake would require permit authorization from the Regulatory Office of the USACE. Outside of the lake itself, any dredging or filling activities within a wetland or stream may also require authorization prior to the impact. You may contact your local Police Jury / Parish Government or the Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve Commission for help with your permit.

End the Cycle of Addiction by Understanding the Teen Brain – Join a Public Form June 7th

Because the adolescent brain is very different from the adult brain, it is much more vulnerable to being harmed and permanently altered by alcohol and drugs. Teens need to make choices that will leave their brains healthy and powerful; their dreams wide open and lead them to happy relationships and a lifetime of success!

The brain communicates through nerve cells called neurons that send and receive chemical messages.

Here’s how it works. If a thought, feeling, or action is repeated often, the sending neuron release a larger amount of chemical each time. The receiving neuron grows new branches and more receptors to receive the larger chemical message. Soon, the behavior becomes automatic and subconscious. That’s why playing the piano is very difficult for a beginner. However, by choosing to practice, the brain’s chemical structure is re-wired, and playing becomes automatic.

The wonderful thing about the human brain is that it can change and grow whenever new things are learned. But unfortunately, developing brains are also more susceptible to damage from outside influences, such as alcohol and other substances. Meaning that substance use during the teen years creates a more specific risk for immediate and lasting harm to the brain and can alter that teen’s life forever.

Would you like to make a difference and help save our children from substance abuse? Please attend a public forum at the Winn Parish Library on June 7th at 5:30 pm. Refreshments will be served, but more importantly, connections will be made.

#Education + Engagement = Triumph Over Addiction!

This project is funded by a Substance and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program Grant from The Rapides Foundation. The goal of the grant is to support the implementation of evidence-based, community-driven solutions for preventing substance and alcohol abuse.

Winn 4-H Outdoors Skills Banquet June 4th

The Winn 4-H/Outdoor Skills Banquest is Saturday, June 4, 2022, at the Winnfield Civic Center. Social time begins at 5 PM and dinner begins at 6:30 PM.

Ticket prices are $35 for individuals and $60 for a couple. Eight-person sponsor tables are available for $350.

Included with the ticket price is dinner, silent auction, live auction, door prizes, raffles, games and more.

All proceeds will benefit the Winn Parish 4-H and Shooting Sports programs.

Blessed – Just One Moore Time!

By: Reba Phelps

Do you remember saying farewell to a trusted and loved childhood friend? Have you ever watched your child say goodbye to a friend? We have all done this throughout our own childhoods and can definitely remember the sting of not knowing if or when you will see your buddy again.

This past week, I know I am not the only mom in Natchitoches who helplessly watched our children plan to go away parties for the nearly departed. Last dances together, last sandlot parties, last ball practices, and last sleepovers. This week has had all of our children wishing for Moore time!

Having lived on both sides of the moving and saying goodbye coin, I was able to offer a little peace of mind. With social media and social parents, there is no doubt they will keep in touch. As the week progressed and we talked more and more about Moore’s moving, my own heart became a little heavier. When I think about our friends, Jeff and Amy Moore, all I can think about is what an amazing example of hard work and love for the family both of them illustrate.

Some may say that it is typical for coaches to move around or leave one assignment for another. This one hits a little different though. The Moore family was weaved into the very fabric of our community. For the past sixteen years, they have called Natchitoches their home and raised their children here.

“I have lots of footprints on my heart as I leave Natchitoches. The friends we have made here will always be in my heart. I cannot imagine my life without them, said Amy Moore.

Whether it was attending church, coaching at NSU, volunteering with the athletes as they served the community, running with the NSU Elementary Lab School kids on campus, teaching in our public schools, or even coaching a volleyball team….the Moores have always spent their extra time enriching the lives of our children. Young and old, everyone has felt the unconditional love and support that their family is famous for.

According to NSU Lab School Principal, Caron Coleman Mrs. Moore will be missed in the classroom as well. “Amy has been a dedicated teacher who builds meaningful relationships with all students. Her creativity and drive have created a classroom setting that is motivational to students and one where all students find success. Her contributions to the students in Natchitoches Parish will be felt for many years.”

When God closes one door, he always has a bigger and better door waiting for you just on the other side of your comfort zone. This was truly the case as Coach Jeff Moore was named as Director of Recruiting for LSU Men’s Basketball in April. Although it was a shock to their hosts of friends and family, we knew that his talent would not keep him here long.

As he traded his Pitch Fork for Mike the Tiger he shared, “Natchitoches is a great place to have a bad day…because of the great people there that support each other.”

“Jeff Moore is one of those rare guys in the business that has stayed true to his roots. He’s always been about Louisiana kids first. You cant count the number of lives he’s helped change for the better by giving Louisiana students opportunities. He’s genuine and authentic. He’s a great coach but he’s an even better man,” shared Natchitoches Central High School Principal, Micah Coleman.

To the Moore family, thank you for your leadership and countless contributions to the entire community of Natchitoches. Thank you for your dedication to NSU Basketball, Natchitoches Parish Schools, and Natchitoches Central Lady Chief Volleyball team. You will be missed, you will be cheered for in your future endeavors, you will be celebrated when you come back to visit, and most of all….you will be prayed for as you begin your new journey in Baton Rouge.
If we could have Moore time with you, we would cherish it….Those lucky Tigers have no idea what an amazing family they have coming their way!

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, And give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26

Angler’s Perspective – Brothers Reconnecting

By: Steve Graf

Every year I make plans to meet my brother, Mike Comer, and my nephew, Chris, along with a host of characters from their past, for some offshore fishing for speckled trout, redfish, and maybe a flounder or two. This is a welcome change from my constant chasing of largemouth bass. It’s a trip that has brought two brothers closer together and allowed for sharing of so many stories of our parallel pasts. Our parents divorced when our mother was pregnant with me. Mike was 5 years older than me and stayed with our dad, while I stayed with our mom after I was born. I never knew about Mike until it was revealed to me around the age often. Yes, it’s complicated and sad that we never got to meet each other until about 6 years ago, but we have taken full advantage of this opportunity and are trying to make up for lost time.

This annual fishing trip to Galveston, Texas, has great meaning for me as it allows us to reunite and share our family history and memories of years gone by, as well creating new ones. It’s a time when I get to sit and talk with Mike and hear stories about our dad and the grandparents who raised him, both of whom I never got to meet. At the same time, I get to share my memories of our mother who was not a part of his life. It’s kind of a sad story, but one we are both fortunate, in so many ways, to have been a part of. Our past has shaped both of us, in a positive way, into the people we are today. God has a funny sense of humor sometimes, but he always has a plan and knows your destination. We were both blessed with people who made sure we were given a chance to excel in life, people who took us in and raised us as their own. Mike was with his grandparents and I with my aunt and uncle.

Sports and fishing have played a huge role in both of our lives, creating opportunities that any young man would be lucky to experience. But nothing brings two brothers together more than going out on a body of water and picking up a rod with a topwater bait tied on and catching fish. There’s just something special about a bass, redfish, or a trout blowing up on a walking bait like a Zara Spook. Yes, it is very competitive between us as to who caught most of the biggest fish of the day. There’s a lot of picking and joking around as to who was the better athlete or who is the best fisherman….which by the way is me since I’m the one writing this article. I will make sure Mike gets a copy of this testimonial, so he’ll know the truth.

All jokes aside, Mike and I have only known each other for less than 6 years, but our connection with each other runs deep. Every time we get together, it’s an adventure on the water, but it’s also a time to reconnect and talk about the time we missed growing up together like brothers should. But neither one of us has any regrets or grudges. We recognize that this has been a small part of God’s plan for each of us. We recognize the blessing we have been given and that God has brought us together for a reason.

One thing is for sure, we both love to fish and as long as we can both pick up a rod and make a cast, our brotherly competition will continue for whatever time we have left here on Earth. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to set the hook.

Steve Graf – Owner/Co-host
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show
& Tackle Talk Live

Move Over Bass and Crappie, It’s Bream Fishing Time

By: Glynn Harris

When I was growing up out on the rural route, there were lots of activities to keep youngsters busy especially in summer when school was over for three months.

High on the list of things to do was to go out behind the cow barn with a shovel and empty Prince Albert tobacco can and dig among the dried cow patties for earthworms. Cane poles that spent the winter on the back wall of the cow barn were taken down, black-braided line tied onto a pole, then a bream hook, lead sinker and cork float were attached. It was time to head for the creek.

Molido was a clear and sparkling little creek with several dark holes snaked through the oaks and beeches behind our house. This was not only where we swam but the darker holes were lairs for a variety of fish – we called them all “perch.”

There were the freckled little fish we called “red perch,” blue bills and goggle eyes, all of which offered kids lots of fun. Bringing a day’s catch home guaranteed a fish fry for supper that night.

Bream fishing today is quite a bit different than those cane pole/earthworm forays to the creek years ago. Last year, a bream tournament was held on Lake D’Arbonne, giving credence to the fact that catching big bream is pretty big business.

This time of year, the lakes are crowded with fishermen armed with fiberglass poles or ultra-light spinning rods tipped with tiny spinners. Instead of messing with gooey earthworms, gray crickets are the preferred live bait for serious bream fishermen.

It has been decades since I fished on a creek and today I concentrate my bream fishing excursions to the friendly confines of a farm pond, one I have fished for years. It couldn’t be easier. I settle down in a comfortable folding chair beneath the shade of a big oak and toss my cricket into an area where year after year, big bream congregate this time of year for spawning.

Watching the cork hovering over the cricket, it’s still exciting to me when I see it bobble and then go under. This means I’m hooked up with a bream. Most of the ones I catch are big bluegills but I can be assured that at least a couple will be red eared sunfish – around here we call them chinquapins.

Our part of the state doesn’t have a corner on good bream fishing. Every freshwater lake in the state of Louisiana has hefty populations of big bream that are there for the taking.

I am fortunate that where I sit on my favorite pond is within a short cast from the bream bed I know is there. On lakes, because of so much more water surface where to look for bream, it usually takes little effort to troll slowly around the lake until you catch a big one. You can usually drop anchor right there because you very likely are within casting distance of a bream bed that will keep you busy until you catch all you want to bring home.

There is no better eating fish than bream, especially when coated with yellow mustard, dumped in a bag of Louisiana Fish Fry product and dropped into hot peanut oil.

A big bluegill or chinquapin is easy to filet and if you catch enough, you have the makings of a fine fish fry. I usually save a few smaller ones that I scale, gut and fry whole. I’ll take one of these and first take a bite of the crispy tail; it’s like eating a potato chip. Then I “unzip” it by carefully removing the fin along the back and the smaller one on the underside and separate the fish into two parts. Remove the row of bones and you have a mouth-watering couple of bites that when dipped in tartar sauce or ketchup is flat-out hard to beat.

Now that I’ve made you hungry, there is no excuse for not heading out to a pond or lake and catch a mess of bream. This time of year, it’s happening big time.

NRMC’s New Retail Pharmacy Features an Easy-to-Use Mobile App

NRMC’s new retail pharmacy makes filling prescriptions easy. The hospital has teamed up with PioneerRx, a pharmacy software company, to offer NRMC Pharmacy customers access to a convenient mobile app, RxLocal.

After filling your first prescription at NRMC’s new Pharmacy, you can register for RxLocal. Simply visit the App store or Google Play and download RxLocal. You’ll be asked to verify your information, validate your account, and create a username and password. It is that easy and takes just a few minutes to complete.  From there, ordering refills is fast and super easy to do.

RxLocal Mobile allows you to:

  • Message directly to an NRMC pharmacist on the HIPAA Compliant 2-way Messenger which keeps your messages confidential.
  • Request refills in just minutes.
  • Manage all of your family’s prescriptions straight from your Smart phone.
  • Get mobile medication reminders about upcoming refills.
  • Keep your prescription information accessible and well organized.
  • And more.

NRMC retail Pharmacy is open from 8:30am to 8:30pm, 7 days a week. Conveniently located in the Multispecialty Clinic on the corner of Keyser Avenue and Isadore Drive, community members are encouraged to take advantage of this new NRMC service. The experienced pharmacy team ensures excellent customer service and focuses on exceeding customer expectations while providing the highest standards of care.

For more information about NRMC’s retail Pharmacy and its mobile app, RxLocal, please call 318.214.5777.

Notice of Death May 26, 2022

Artherine McDonald Parker
April 4, 1943 – May 25, 2022
Service: Saturday, May 28 at 2 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Janice Farmer Andrus
March 4, 1937 – May 20, 2022
Service: Saturday, May 28 at 11 am at the Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home

Carroll Dean Ellzey
March 14, 1948 – May 23, 2022
Service: Friday, May 27 at 2 pm at Cenchrea Nazarene Church

National Highway Safety Commission’s “Click It or Ticket” Campaign for 2022

The Winnfield Police Department has joined many agencies in enforcement activities for the National “Click it or Ticket” campaign for the Fiscal Year 2022. They are utilizing grant money awarded by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission to pay officers to work overtime in seat belt enforcement details.


May 23 – June 8, 2022 (Click It or Ticket It)

Louisiana law states that all drivers and passengers, regardless of which seat they occupy in a vehicle, must wear a seat belt or be properly restrained in a child safety seat that is properly installed. The fine for not being properly restrained is $50. Fines for improper child safety are $242.50.

Besides being the law in Louisiana, wearing your seat belt is the single most important thing a driver or passenger can do to protect themselves in the event of a crash. The LHSC supports national programs such as “Click It or Ticket” that raise awareness of the need for proper restraint usage.

In 2019, observational surveys showed that 87.5 percent of all Louisiana drivers and passengers were wearing their seat belts. Winn Parish surveys show that 89% of drivers wear seat belts. While this record usage rate is good news for Louisiana, there is much work to be done in moving toward 100 percent compliance.

Of the 23,824 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2020, 51% were not wearing seat belts — a 4% increase from 2019.


The Top 5 Things You Should Know About Buckling Up

1. Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash

Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Being buckled up during a crash helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle; being completely ejected from a vehicle is almost always deadly.

2. Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them

If you don’t wear your seat belt, you could be thrown into a rapidly opening frontal air bag. Such force could injure or even kill you.

3. Guidelines to buckle up safely

  • The lap belt and shoulder belt are secured across the pelvis and rib cage, which are better able to withstand crash forces than other parts of your body.
  • Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and away from your neck.
  • The lap belt rests across your hips, not your stomach.
  • NEVER put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.

4. Fit matters

  • Before you buy a new car, check to see that its seat belts are a good fit for you.
  • Ask your dealer about seat belt adjusters, which can help you get the best fit.
  • If you need a roomier belt, contact your vehicle manufacturer to obtain seat belt extenders.
  • If you drive an older or classic car with lap belts only, check with your vehicle manufacturer about how to retrofit your car with today’s safer lap/shoulder belts.

5. Seat belt safety for children and pregnant women


According to a department spokesman, they are targeting the 11% who do not use seat belts. Understand the potentially fatal consequences of not wearing a seat belt and learn what you can do to make sure you and your family are properly buckled up every time.

Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report

Date 5-17-22:
Name: Darrion Lamar Simmons
Address: Campti, LA
Race: Black
Sex: Male
Age: 20
Charge: Theft of a motor vehicle, Criminal conspiracy, Criminal trespass

Date: 5-18-22
Name: Robert L Swelling
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: White
Sex: Male
Age: 58
Charge: Failure to appear (warrant)

Date: 5-18-22
Name Cameron C. Joe
Address: Hodge, LA
Race: Black
Sex: Male
Age: 18
Charge: First Degree Murder

Date: 5-19-22
Name: Randy D Williams
Address: Sikes, LA
Race: White
Sex: Male
Age: 49
Charge: Driving under suspension, Flight from an officer, Without proper equipment on a motor vehicle (displayed plate)

Date: 5-20-22
Name: Ricky Morgan
Address: Georgetown, LA
Race: White
Sex: Male
Age: 62
Charge: Warrant (Second-degree battery, Cruelty to someone with infirmaries)

Date: 5-20-22
Name: James Benjamin Hanson
Address: Tullos, LA
Race: White
Sex: Male
Age: 42
Charge: Warrant (Unauthorized entry of inhabited dwelling)

Date: 5-22-22
Name: Catherine V Simpson
Address: Dodson, LA
Race: White
Sex: Female
Age: 68
Charge: Failure to appear (plea hearing x2)

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Campti Man Arrested Driving Winn Parish Stolen Vehicle

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Campti man on May 4 around 3 AM while he was operating a stolen vehicle near Natchitoches.

Damian Lamon Simmons, 20, of the 200 block of Pasture Road, Campti, was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center around 4 AM and charged with 1-count of Illegal Possession of Stolen Things valued over $10,000.

According to reports at approximately 2:54 AM, Deputy Silas Axsom was patrolling on La. Hwy 6 near the North Natchitoches Bypass when he observed a silver 2020 Chevrolet Trax traveling eastbound. An NCIC license plate computer check revealed that the vehicle was reported stolen through Winnfield Police Department.

Deputies stopped the vehicle on La. Hwy 6 East near Natchitoches. Additional units responded to assist.

The operator of the vehicle was identified as Simmons.

NATCOM 911 Center confirmed the vehicle was stolen through Winnfield Police Department.

After confirming the vehicle was stolen, Simmons was arrested without incident.

Deputies say while speaking with Simmons he stated that someone let him borrow the vehicle, but he forgot the name.

A local towing service was contacted to impound the vehicle until the owner could make arrangements to pick it up.

At the time of publishing Simmons remains in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

Pictured above: Damian Lamon Simmons

WPPJ Special Called Meeting Today

The Winn Parish Police Jury will hold a special called meeting today at 5 PM in room 112 of the Winn Parish Courthouse located at 119 West Main St, Winnfield, LA 71483.


I. Call to Order.
II. Invocation & Pledge.
III. Adoption of Agenda.
IV. Announcements & Comments:

(1) President Joshua McAllister-Motion to adopt a Resolution to apply for 2021-2022 Community Water Enrichment Fund to connect natural gas to the new emergency power system in the amount of $50,000 for Pleasant Hill Water System and give President McAllister authority to sign all documents.

–Motion to adopt a Resolution to apply for 2021-2022 Louisiana Government Assistance Program for repairs to Old Alexandria Road in the amount of $100,000 and give President McAllister authority to sign all documents.
–Motion to adopt a Resolution to schedule and complete a drawdown of Saline Lake beginning on June 1, 2022 and continue to October 1, 2022.
–Motion to give President McAllister authority to sign all acceptance of right of ways in the 2020-2021 LCDBG Sewer Project. 

VI. Adjourn.

End the Cycle of Addiction by Understanding the Teen Brain – Public Forum June 7th

From early adolescence through the mid-to-late 20s, the brain develops somewhat unevenly. The parts of the brain to develop first are those that control physical activity (cerebellum), emotion (amygdala) and motivation (nucleus accumbens). The prefrontal cortex, responsible for impulse control, more reasoned thought, and sound judgment develop later. So, you can see where this could pose a problem. Interestingly, this pattern of brain development helps explain some common traits of teen behavior such as difficulty holding back or controlling emotions, more risky and impulsive behaviors, inadequate planning, short-term rewards and limited judgment.

The teen brain continues to develop well into one’s 20s, and drinking has a significant negative effect on its development. Developing brains are more susceptible than the brains of adults to being damaged by outside influences. Meaning substance use during the teen years creates a more specific risk for immediate and lasting harm. We will look further into why this happens next week when we continue to explore the teen brain and its development and how we can help to stop addiction before it begins.

Please mark your calendars and join us for a public forum on Tuesday, June 7th, at the Winn Parish Library at 5:30 PM to discuss the problem of addiction in our area and how we, as a community, can make a difference. Please call Shonna Moss at 318-628-0169 to reserve your chair, as seating will be limited. Also, please watch for another article next week as we continue to explore more about the teen brain and its development.