A woman was stabbed to death Wednesday morning during a dispute with her boyfriend at their home in Zachary, police said.

The suspect was taken into custody a few blocks away while other officers stayed at the house and tried to save the victim's life, police said. 

Police were notified around 8:45 a.m. about a fight at a house in the 4700 block of Avenue E, Zachary Police Chief David McDavid said. Officers entered the house and found a female victim on the floor; she was pronounced dead from apparent stab wounds.

The victim's boyfriend fled the scene and was pursued by police, then arrested, McDavid said.

The woman was living at the house with the boyfriend, and there have been past domestic violence incidents involving this couple, according to police. The initial call about the stabbing Wednesday morning was a report of the suspect fighting with his grandfather, but police arrived to find the man's girlfriend had been stabbed.

Police have not released the names of either the victim or the suspect, pending notification to the woman's family. 

McDavid urged people to stay connected with domestic violence service providers especially during the coronavirus pandemic, which experts and advocates have warned for months would exacerbate abusive relationships and lead to more domestic violence calls. That's because people are stressed out and normal life has been upended, many are unemployed and facing unprecedented economic hardship, not to mention some victims are stuck at home with their abusers and disconnected from outside support systems.

Homicides across East Baton Rouge Parish — including domestic violence killings — have reached a historic high over the past several months as 2020 threatens to become the parish's most murderous year on record. 

Such displays of violence are rare in Zachary. But the town saw a similar tragic incident in April when a man shot and killed his twin stepdaughters, then turned the gun on himself, according to police. 

McDavid mentioned that case during remarks to reporters at the scene Wednesday morning, saying the small town of Zachary is torn apart from the losses. The chief also said he knew the man accused in the stabbing, having grown up with his parents. 

"Everybody around here knows each other. … It's somber," he said. "It's a tough situation."

The crime scene Wednesday morning was quiet despite a large crowd of neighbors and relatives who gathered outside the police tape, watching while detectives collected evidence and coroner's investigators removed the body. Sometimes the only sound came from a small brown and white dog tied to a tree outside the house where the stabbing occurred. 

Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.