For the first time, the wife of one of the victims speaks publicly, sharing what it was like from her perspective.
Milea Casten is settling into her new home, and a new reality, months after what was supposed to be moving day for her family, on May 2nd, 2023.
She said they were packing and the movers were at their home when her husband, Joshua Calk left to run errands.
“It was early in the morning, probably about 8, 8:15,” Casten recalled. ” So he was going to take the furniture, get some gas, get some boxes, and come home.”
“Tried to call him, tried to text him. He didn’t answer which was unusual,” said Casten. “I started to get worried. I guess it was about 10:15 and I sent him the ‘Are you ok?’ text.”
She and her friends got into their cars and began to trace the possible paths Joshua would have taken.
“When [a friend] passed the Valero, he called me and said there are police surrounding it and it looks like [Joshua’s] truck is at the gas pump,” Casten explained. “I just knew. I just knew something happened to him when he didn’t come home when he was supposed to and he didn’t answer his phone and nobody knew where he was.”
Casten and another friend rushed to Ochsner LSU Health, hoping they would find Joshua, alive. She says they sat in a waiting room for hours, waiting for information and calling the Bossier City Police Department about every 20 minutes.
“They kept transferring me saying it’s an ongoing investigation, you know. We can’t tell you anything,” said Casten. “I was like if my husband, if something happened to my husband I need to know.”
She tried to piece together information from what she could find online and from television news reports.
“There was a state trooper giving a statement. She opened it up for questions and somebody said there’s an eyewitness account of a customer being held with a gun to his head. Can you tell us what happened to him?” Casten shared. “And she closed it out and said we don’t have any comment at this time.”
Four people had been shot, including Bossier City Police Officer Kenny Gallon.
“One of the police officer’s family members came in [to the hospital waiting room] and he was telling us, he was saying that the officer was going to be ok but he felt really bad for those families who lost their family members. And I said ‘What are you saying?’ and he said ‘Well, there are two people who are dead.'”
Casten would later find out that the two who died were Jariah Hamilton and Joshua Calk.
“They didn’t tell me until almost four o’clock, a chaplain from the fire department and a chaplain from the police department and a detective,” Casten said. “It’s bad enough that he was executed because he was shot in the head. But to have that information and not give it to a family member, to his wife, who is actively seeking it out, to me is unconscionable.”
Casten explained that she’s sharing her story in hopes that others won’t suffer the same experience.
“[Joshua] just had the biggest heart. I’m so lucky we met,” shared Casten. “I can’t believe I’m going to live the rest of my life without him.”
In response to the delay, Louis Johnson, Bossier City Public Information Officer, expressed his condolences. He also explained that since this was an officer-involved shooting, more agencies were involved, including the state police. He said that could have played a role in the delay. Johnson did say the city would review the case and create additional protocols if needed.
“I would like to think that we can learn from every incident. Every incident, we learn from it, and not only do we learn from it, we review those incidents with the goal being to improve and to do better in every way,” said Johnson. “So if it was less than timely, that’s important and I’m sure we will be mindful of that. But I can respectfully say that if we had to make a decision on disclosing information a bit sooner or later based on the incident itself, I’m afraid that we would probably make sure that the information is secure and not only secure but it’s accurate.”