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News in Brief- December 19, 2018

News in Brief- December 19, 2018

2 men arrested in pair of shooting deaths in Louisiana

RACELAND, La. (AP) — Sheriff's deputies in Lafourche Parish say two brothers have been arrested in the shooting deaths of two men last weekend.

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office told news outlets that 34-year-old Kerry Alexander and 28-year-old Jerrell Alexander of Raceland have been charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

The sheriff's office said 26-year-old Marcel Turner and 23-year-old Jeremiah Ballard died after they were shot at a home in Raceland on Saturday afternoon. Another man found at the home was not hurt.

Deputies found Turner dead in a garage. Ballard was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.

Investigators think the brothers entered the garage with guns and demanded money and starting shooting at the three men.

It was not known if the Alexanders have attorneys yet.

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New Orleans on pace to have fewest murders since 1971

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With just over two weeks left in 2018, New Orleans is on pace to see a significant drop in the number of murders for the year, and could mark the lowest number of killings the city has seen in nearly half a century.

As of Saturday, New Orleans police had investigated 137 murders this year. There were 151 murders in 2017 by the same date, and 169 in 2016 by Dec. 15, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reported.

If the current pace of murders continues, the city will end 2018 with 143 murders — a 47-year low. According to data from the City of New Orleans, the last time there were fewer than 150 murders was in 1971, when New Orleans had 116 murder victims.

Despite a potential drop in the murder count, if New Orleans continues the pace and ends the year with 143 murders, the city would still remain on a list of U.S. cities with the highest number of murders per capita. Ending the year with 143 murders would make New Orleans' murder rate higher than Chicago's in 2017, but lower than the rates of Baltimore, Detroit and Birmingham, Alabama, last year.

Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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Remains of sailor killed at Pearl Harbor identified

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Full military honors will be given to a Louisiana sailor whose remains have been identified more than 75 years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The remains of Navy Seaman 2nd Class Charles C. Gomez Jr., of Slidell, were accounted for Sept. 19, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Friday.

Gomez was assigned to the USS Oklahoma battleship on Dec. 7, 1941 when Japanese aircraft attacked it at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Among the more than 2,300 American military personnel killed that day were 429 USS Oklahoma crewmen, including then-19-year-old Gomez.

His family was informed of the identity match earlier this week.

Until now, Gomez's remains had been interred among 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the site. Officials say a rosette will be placed by his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Fogg said a memorial service will be held at the Veterans Administration facility in Slidell on June 3, 2019, on what would have been Gomez's 97th birthday.

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Few Louisiana black high school students get college credit

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The number of Louisiana public high school students taking college courses is growing, but black students continue to lag behind their white counterparts.

The latest data available shows 31,517 students took courses through Louisiana's dual enrollment program in the 2017-18 school year, a 60 percent increase over 10 years ago, when the total was 19,716.

But The Advocate reports that only one in five of those enrolled in the program is black, even though black students make up nearly half the high school population.

Louisiana education leaders said uneven access and the lack of a statewide plan are hindering efforts to make the dual enrollment program a bigger part of the education landscape. They say the case for pursuing the college credits in high school is overwhelming, noting that those who take part enroll in college at higher rates, graduate sooner and save money.

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HUD report shows drop in Louisiana homeless population

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A new federal report says homelessness in Louisiana dropped this year.

The latest national snapshot released Monday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says 3,059 people in Louisiana were homeless on a single night in 2018. That's a decline of more than 7 percent from the previous year.

The HUD report says about two-thirds of Louisiana's homeless were in emergency shelters or transitional housing.

The estimates are built off reporting by local communities, including data collected on a night in January when volunteers identify people who are homeless.

Louisiana is one of 31 states that reported a decline in homelessness in this year's findings. But the HUD report also says Louisiana has seen a 6 percent rise from last year to this year in homelessness among veterans.