Gunshots left one man fatally wounded outside the Weller Food Store in North Baton Rouge Wednesday morning, police said, making it the sixth homicide that occurred within city limits since Friday.
Catrell "Smooth" Wallace, 21, of 3749 Geronimo St., was found in the front parking lot of 2605 Weller Ave., suffering from an apparent gunshot injury. Wallace was taken to a hospital where he later died.
Four years ago, Wallace's father, C.J. Grisby Jr., was fatally shot in the driveway of their Geronimo Street home in what police said was an attempted armed robbery. After Grisby was shot in the face around midnight on March 15, 2013, he died in a hospital, leaving behind Wallace and three other children.
On Wednesday, police cordoned off an area surrounding the store as investigators examined the scene, just three blocks from where Grisby was slain. Around 1 p.m. a tow truck arrived and took away a blue Cutlass Supreme. Police would not say whether the car belonged to Wallace.
Neighbors reported hearing about 10 gunshots and seeing a car leave the scene after the shooting occurred.
The homicide marks the 72nd slaying this year in East Baton Rouge Parish — compared to 62 in all of 2016 and follows a sharp spike in shooting deaths within the past several weeks.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, who was at the scene, said that this summer "has been brutal" but he hopes those numbers represent "just a peak and not a trend."
Moore said investigators have not yet determined whether any of the recent killings are connected.
"I feel very bad for the people who live here," he said. "(They) don't want this anywhere near their neighborhood."
Neighbors also expressed dismay at the recent spate of homicides, both within their neighborhood and throughout the parish. The homicide Wednesday morning was the most recent to occur in ZIP code 70805, following 14 others that have occurred there since January.
There's a handful of people committing violent acts," Moore said. "I came out to let people know we're here, and we're concerned about what's happening in the community."
One resident who declined to give his name said he heard shots and ran outside to make sure his little brother was alright.
"It's not even 12 o'clock now," he said. "Sad, very sad. Every life matters — every death counts."
Another older man who lives nearby said the neighborhood sees its fair share of violence since "young people today don't think about the consequences of their actions."
Kalil Saleh, the owner of Weller Food Store, wasn't there when the shooting took place but arrived later. He said from his perspective the incident didn't reflect the normal atmosphere of his store, which has been open for 25 years near the corner of Weller Avenue and Pocasset Street.
Saleh said business would proceed as usual once police finished investigating after about two hours.
"Many of our customers, they are like family," he said. "Things happen everywhere."
Editor's Note: Advocate staff writer Emma Discher contributed to this report.
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