Bayou La Batre’s mayor is set to propose a number of changes to how the town hall operates after his wife, the municipality’s magistrate, was stabbed in the leg by an attacker.
Mayor Henry Barnes confirmed that Marcia Barnes is recovering after being stabbed in the leg by an attacker while town hall staff was preparing for court on Tuesday morning. The attacker has been identified as 47-year-old Pho Xay Keomanivong, Mobile County District Attorney’s office spokesman Nancy Mangalit confirmed. Keomanivong has been arrested and is currently at Mobile Metro Jail on a charge of attempted murder and an escape charge, according to jail logs.
Barnes said another town hall employee was injured trying to run away from Keomanivong. The motive for the attack, Barnes said, was to kill police officers.
“He was trying to kill all the police,” Barnes said. “He was using (Marcia Barnes) as a way to get to the police.”
Bayou La Batre sets up metal detectors for court, but doesn’t have them up during all hours. Barnes said he is currently in the process of writing policies that would change that and add an extra layer of security for town hall employees.
“We have all these women who work here,” he said. “We need to protect employees.”
In addition to leaving metal detectors up at all times, Barnes said the city would look to add a doorbell camera and keep the doors locked. Members of the public who want to access town hall would have to call employees and be let in. The town council will have to vote on the measure, Barnes said, although he doesn’t expect much pushback from members.
“I’m not one of these mayors who runs around like John Wayne,” he said. “I put everything in front of the council.”
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