UPDATE: 6 LA teen drowning victims identified

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 - 4:57pm


Caddo Parish Release:

Six teenagers who drowned while swimming in the Red River on Monday have now been identified.

They are siblings Takeitha Warner, 13, JaMarcus Warner, 14, and JaTavious Warner, 17, and brothers Litrelle Stewart, 18, Latevin Stewart, 15, and LaDairus Stewart, 17, all of Shreveport.

Takeitha and JaMarcus were eighth graders at M.J. Moore Math/ Science Academy. Latevin was a sophomore at Woodlawn High School and Litrelle, LaDairus and JaTavious were seniors at Woodlawn.

Caddo Sheriff's deputies say the six were with a large group of family and friends who were at the river near Hamels' Memorial Park for an afternoon of swimming and barbecuing. The group had only been at the river about 10 minutes before tragedy struck.

All six teen-agers and a 15-year-old male cousin of the Warners entered the water and waded out several feet. They were wading back to the sand bar when the 15-year-old, who has not been identified because of his age, stepped off a ledge or drop-off that could not be seen in the murky water. The water depth immediately changed to 25-30 feet.

The 15 year old screamed for help, and the other children went to his location in the deep water, but none could swim. A group of swimmers unrelated to the victims heard their cries and also tried to help. Only the 15 year old who originally stepped off the drop-off could be saved.

The teen-agers were accompanied by several adults who were on the sand bar at the time of the drownings, but none of the adults could swim either. Only one had a life jacket, which was thrown to the victims, but they could not reach it.

Around 6:30 p.m., a 911 call reporting a possible drowning was made to the Shreveport Fire Department, which immediately dispatched divers to the scene. The Caddo Sheriff's Office Marine Unit and Patrol Division also responded as well as the Bossier City Fire Department Dive Team.

Fire Department divers conducted a rescue operation for about 30 minutes before moving to recovery mode. The first body was located at 7:51 p.m. All six victims were recovered by 10:02 p.m. within 20-30 feet of one another.


SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Fire officials say six teenagers have drowned in a Louisiana river and a seventh has been rescued.

Shreveport Assistant Fire Chief Fred Sanders says the teens were playing in the Red River Monday evening and stepped over a sudden drop-off to 20 feet deep. He says the teens ranged in age from 13 to 18.

Sanders says the teens were with adults, but none in the group could swim. He says he believes they were from two families - three brothers in one family, and two brothers and a sister in the other.

He says names may be released Tuesday, after relatives are notified.

On Monday afternoon, 5 or 6 kids were swept away in a current in the Red River.

Authorities say the kids were playing on sandbar in the Hamel's Park about 3 miles south of downtown Shreveport.

The Shreveport fire dive team and the sheriff's office are searching for the kids in the water.

Police were seen escorting distraught member away from the scene.

KMSS will bring you the latest information as it becomes available.


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