2 shootings in 1 night punctuate Houma violence wave

Detectives with the Houma Police Department and the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office were still piecing together clues and evidence Monday in an effort to determine whether two fatal shootings only a few miles apart that occurred within 20 minutes of each other were related.

At about 3:15 a.m. last Wednesday, 23-year-old John Darjean of Memory Lane in Houma was found shot to death in a lot beside 3605 Thomas Drive in the Village East neighborhood. Darjean had a history of drug distribution charges involving both MDMA and crack cocaine. A man who was with Darjean and was wounded has not been publicly identified.

At about 3:34 a.m., city police responded to the 400 block of East Street, where a vehicle had crashed into a fence. Both the driver and passenger was suffering from gunshot wounds. Medical personnel responded and transported the driver to hospital to be treated for his injuries and the passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.

The passenger, who suffered the fatal wound, was identified as Troy Derouche, 29, of Roanoake Street. The driver was identified as 26-year-old Roderick Smith, who lived on East Street.

Both had criminal histories involving various charges.

Asked if the two cases were related, Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman said he couldn’t say immediately, as the investigation was in its “infant stages.”

The East Street shooting was the latest instance of gunfire in a neighborhood that has had its fill of violence. Still recovering from homicides and near-fatal shootings last year, the Mechanicville neighborhood is seemingly under siege yet again

“Over the past few weeks the Houma Police Department has experienced an increase in ‘shots fired’ complaints within the Mechanicville area,” Coleman said last month, while seeking help from the public in identifying a man on video who was exchanging shots with an unseen person. “Upon reviewing the complaints, investigators noticed citizens within the community has reported various suspects firing weapons during random times.”

The gunplay is having a chilling effect.

“I try not to be out in the afternoon,” said a middle-aged woman who lives on Truman Street. “I have one bullet that went in my house, with my granddaughter there.”

The woman’s granddaughter is 4 years old.

“She knows to get down,” said the grandmother, who agreed to speak if not identified, fearing retribution.

“They are coming from St. Joseph Street, they are coming in all directions, she said.

Other residents have similar stories. They believe the gunplay may involve people who are friends, but have disagreements, and fire their guns to intimidate. Noted one resident “It’s one friend gets made at another or another and they don’t care.”

John DarjeanTroy DeroucheRoderick Smith