William Michael Rice.jpg

Ouachita Parish sheriff's deputies arrested a West Monroe man on suspicion of aggravated battery and cruelty to the infirm earlier this month after authorities received a complaint of a battery at a store on Smith Street.

Deputies found the 69-year-old victim lying on the concrete behind the store, with a large pool of blood beneath the victim's head.

The victim could not remember what happened.

A witness at the scene told deputies that William Michael Rice, 54, of 105 Westwood Drive, West Monroe, was found sleeping on the store's air conditioner unit.

“The victim (store owner) tried making the arrestee leave,” stated the June 28 arrest report. “The witness observed the arrestee strike the victim in the face and the victim fell to the concrete. The victim was unconscious on the concrete and the arrestee put a running water hose in the victim's mouth.”

The witness assisted the victim by removing the water hose and claimed to have seen Rice flee.

Deputies later found Rice and took him into custody.

Video footage showed Rice sleeping on the air conditioner unit when the store owner approached with a water hose.

“The victim sprays the arrestee's legs, in an attempt to wake him, and tries pushing him up,” stated the arrest report. “The arrestee stands up and disengages from the victim, as the arrestee tries arming himself with a large metal pipe. The arrestee re-approaches the victim and hits him one time in the face with his closed fist. The victim goes limp and falls backward onto the concrete. The arrestee stands over him and appears to scream at him. He puts the nozzle in the victim's mouth.”

During questioning, Rice said he did not remember the incident.

He was booked at Ouachita Correctional Center on the above charges as well as on one count of second-degree battery.

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