Shots Fired Into Home Of Town's First Black Mayor - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/8/07-Greenwood, LA

Shots Fired Into Home Of Town's First Black Mayor

Two shotgun blasts were fired into the home of the town's mayor, who says he had been cursed at before but never physically threatened.

Police stepped up security after the shots were fired early Monday at the home of Ernest Lampkins, who was elected in 2004 as the first black mayor of the small, predominantly white northwest Louisiana town.

One slug left a hole the size of a baseball in a glass panel separating the living room from the family area, and another lodged in a wall. No one inside the house was injured.

Police Chief J.D. Dunn said he didn't know why it happened or who was responsible.

Officers increased security at the mayor's home after the shots were fired Monday and used handheld metal detectors to check people entering Monday's Board of Aldermen meeting.

"Anytime you shoot in someone's house, there is intent to kill," Lampkins said.

The mayor said about 10 people in the town of some 2,600 residents oppose everything he does. "They're really anti-administration. They are not team players. They are citizens who have a vendetta," he said. "I'm not saying they have anything to do with it, but they have created an atmosphere to making such things possible."

"It could be I'm black or the fact that I defeated the acting mayor," he said.

Lampkins, a retired educator, has lived in Greenwood, 10 miles west of Shreveport, for about 20 years. He said he found a "For Sale" sign posted in his yard in December but has never faced physical threats.

"I enjoy what I do in terms of being mayor," he said. "The only thing that has bothered me is the invasion of my home and the personal safety of my family."

Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator said charges in the case will depend on motive. "If it was intended to intimidate, then you have a realm of hate-crime," he said.

Greenwood is about 150 miles north of Westlake, where Gerald Washington, that town's first black mayor, was found shot to death in a parking lot on December 30, a few days before he was to take office.

The coroner and the sheriff pronounced Washington's death a suicide, but his family and supporters have questioned the ruling.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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