In a joint press conference on the steps of City Hall this morning, Acheron Mayor Viktor Dubose and DSF Captain Joe Burgess called for patience and civility as the city continues to sort out events of the past few days.
Mayor Dubose asked parents to remain calm and reminded them that his own daughters, Natalie and Emily, are among the students being held for questioning. While emphasizing with their concern, he assured them that they had nothing to fear. While Dubose acknowledges that having students in custody is not ideal, he assures parents that their children are perfectly safe and being well cared for and stresses the importance of ensuring the students are isolated from one another until they have all made statements.
"The good news is that DSF are making quick work of this investigation, despite the large number of witnesses to be questioned, and we hope to see students being released as early as tomorrow."
Captain Burgess echoed Mayor Dubose's calls for civility, stating that recent demonstrations and vandalism pull vital DSF resources from the investigation and lengthen the amount of time it will take to question the students in custody.
" I understand that you want your kids back. I really do - but going out into the streets and breaking windows and setting fires is not the way to get it. The longer my men are out in the streets protecting private property from upset family members and outside agitators, the longer those kids sit in jail waiting to be cleared. So don't think you're doing them any favors by going out into the streets and causing a raucous. You're only making the situation worse."
Captain Burgess then addressed the growing issue of the "missing students" whose names did not appear on the DSF detention list released yesterday. Parents have reported that many of these students did not return home after school and have not been seen since the riot. DSF believe that these students may have played integral parts in the riot, and as a result they are now considered possible suspects.
"People who have done nothing wrong have nothing to fear. The same can not be said for people who run from the law. As part of our investigation, DSF agents will be questioning EVERY student on the NAHS roster. Parents whose children were not detained at the school will be contact by DSF with a date and time to bring their students in for questioning. These interviews are voluntary at this time, but I encourage all parents to cooperate fully, as refusal to answer questions could reflect negatively on the student and possibly result in a warrant being issued."
Both Mayor Dubose and Captain Burgess declined to take any questions following their statements.
Breaking it down by the numbers:
• 812 students are currently enrolled at NAHS.
• 2 students were killed during the riot.
• 647 students have been in custody for the last 4 days.
• 163 students are now wanted for questioning and being threatened with arrest.
• 2 of the missing students have been charged with a 5 separate crimes each, including 3 felonies which require them to be tried as adults despite being 16 years old. If convicted, they will likely spend the rest of their lives in federal prison.