Just before 4 p.m. this afternoon a patrol with the Opelousas Police Department attempted to conduct a traffic stop near the intersection of Union and Dunbar Street in reference to a red-light violation.
A male suspect exited the vehicle and began running with what the officer could clearly identify as an AR-15 Style rifle not long after the traffic stop was initiated. According to officials, the officer abandoned the traffic stop and began to pursue the suspect running with the rifle. The officer requested assistance and all available OPD units converged on the area.
While officers were searching the area a concerned citizen in the area called to report a suspicious male was knocking at their residence. The caller gave a description of the suspicious person allowing officers to quickly make contact with a suspect fitting the description in the area.
Officers made contact with a 17-year-old male that was found to be illegally carrying a concealed handgun. That juvenile was taken into custody.
Authorities continued to thoroughly search the area and ultimately located the suspect who had fled with the rifle hiding near a residence in the 200 Blk. of White Street.
The suspect, Richard Hatfield Jr., 24, had been released on parole back in May of 2022 after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon back in June of 2021. Hatfield had been arrested on (3) separate occasions for weapons violations dating back to January of 2020. Hatfield will again be charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and resisting an officer. Hatfield was booked into the St. Landry Parish jail. The 17-year-old juvenile was charged and referred to the juvenile court.
Opelousas Police ask anyone with any information related to any criminal activity or weapons violations to contact the Opelousas Police Department at 337-948-2500, firstname.lastname@example.org or through Crime Stoppers (337-948-TIPS, www.stlandrycrimestoppers.com [stlandrycrimestoppers.com] or by using the P3 mobile App.) Tipsters can remain anonymous.
All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.