ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – After the shooting investigation on Candy Lane in Odessa that left two people hurt this past weekend, the Odessa Police are looking to the community to make a change.
OPD said they received multiple calls from neighbors about a loud party, this past weekend. When officers arrived they said they were told by neighbors that shots had been fired and later found two people were hurt and underage drinking had happened.
Now OPD is taking this moment to talk about the safety of children and teens and the unlawful act of providing alcohol to minors.
Corporal Steve LeSueur with OPD said underage drinking and drug use has been a major problem in the area.
“So the Odessa Police Department with the Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. We meet with them on a regular basis and talk with them about this problem. So, underage drinking is something that we take very serious whether it’s alcohol or drug abuse.”
He said that in turn, has affected the youth gun violence numbers in the area as well.
He added, “There is an underage drinking problem here in Odessa. I mean it’s not uncommon to see a correlation with drug abuse and guns as well.”
OPD is looking to the community to be a positive influence on their youth after 39-year-old Ryan Phillips was arrested and charged at the party Saturday, with providing alcohol to a minor, a Class A Misdemeanor.
“It all starts in the home. So, it starts with parents, you know, being role models and to have that conversation with your kids on the dangers of drinking and driving and you know, also, drug use and things like that,” mentioned LeSueur.
LeSueur said the city’s social host ordinance, which holds adults liable for underage drinking on their property and/or for providing alcohol to minors, is key for law enforcement agencies in the area.
“What we were finding is that in a lot of cases, we would respond to these large parties where there was underage drinking taking place where the elements weren’t quite met for furnishing alcohol to a minor, so in that case, we can still issue the social host ordinance,” he suggested.
The goal of the police department is to keep the youth in the community safe from any harm.
LeSueur said, “Our goal is not to make as many arrests as we can, or issue as many citations as we can. Our goal is to save lives.”
As mentioned, 39-year-old Ryan Philips was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by felon, furnishing alcohol to a minor, and violation of social host ordinance.
And 18-year-old Tremayne Baty was also arrested and charged with unlawful carry of a weapon.
Baty was taken to the hospital for his injuries and has since been released. And OPD said one person is still in the hospital.
This case is still under investigation and OPD asks if you have any information to call OPD, or submit a tip to Odessa Crime Stoppers.
We’ll be sure to update this story as it develops.