Richwood Bingo Hall Lot Shooting
May 18, 2023
A weekend shooting at the Richwood Bingo Hall Parking Lot on Saturday, May 13, 2023, has some residents wondering what Mayor Gerald Brown and the town’s board plan to do to address the issue. A lot of questions are also being asked by nightclub owners who have seen their hours of operation severely curtailed after an ordinance was passed several weeks ago. Richwood club owners do not favor the ordinance because of the manner in which the votes were secured and deem the process improperly done under state meeting laws. Now that there has been a shooting that, according to sources, resulted in two individuals being shot and another allegedly being run over by a vehicle, questions are being asked. The shooting was said to have been around 3:00 AM Saturday, May 13, 2023 in the bingo hall parking lot. Area law enforcement from the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office responded. State Troopers appeared at the bingo hall later in the day.
People are drawing a parallel between the clubs and the bingo hall. They are saying that clubs have had to bear the majority of criticism when an incident of violence happens at or near clubs, but they also have said that it has not been exactly quiet around the bingo either. There have been alleged reports of altercations and conflict around the bingo hall too, yet no one has talked about closing it or cutting back on hours. Alcohol and other activities have been said to happen at clubs, even though owners have shown that they do what is necessary to keep trouble away. Still, when altercations occur at a place where alcohol is not served, owners are asking where is the fairness.
In a social media post, Tonia Davis shared, “Last night’s shooting wasn’t at Onyx, nor were any Onyx customers involved. Onyx closed @ 2:00 AM. and our parking lot was cleared, minus employees. Richwood Bingo Hall closes at @3:00 AM. Question? Are their hours going to be adjusted now due to violence? Are they responsible for random people pulling up and having a shootout in the parking lot? Inquiring minds want to know. Might I add, upon examining my 30+ security cameras system, I saw not one Richwood Police officer on the scene, just the usual Ouachita Sheriff Dept. Hmmm.”
Many also make the point that it appears Richwood does not have a police department after 5:00 PM on weekdays and relies on Parish Deputies to fill in, but when it came to shutting down the clubs after the ordinance passed, Richwood police showed up. They weren’t around when the bullets were flying. Still, people want to know why the bingo hall is open, and the clubs are closed. Perhaps one reason is that the bingo hall brings in revenue for the town. So do the clubs. Through their contributions to the town, the clubs showed that they were civic partners, as the awards and plaques prove. To the clubs, that hour-and-a-half of staying open made a big difference in their revenue. Why deny one venue the opportunity to stay open just as long but deny the other?