A state legislative aide was responsible for a murder-suicide Tuesday morning in Central, having shot and killed his ex-girlfriend before fatally shooting himself, deputies said.
Larry Warino Jr., 31, of Lafayette, killed Alyssa Kanouse, 24, outside the townhouse where she lived in the 17100 block of Wax Road, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, the East Baton Rouge sheriff's spokeswoman. Warino also killed himself at that location, Hicks said.
Warino served as the legislative assistant for state Rep. Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette, said Cory Stewart, the state House of Representatives communications director.
Calls to Bishop and his office went unanswered Tuesday. Warino's name was removed from Bishop's House of Representative's webpage by late Tuesday, though it was listed earlier in the day. The website now shows no legislative aide for Bishop.
Neighbor Jaime Seale Dipuma said she was awakened by gunfire outside her townhouse just after 6:30 a.m.
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She went outside and saw Kanouse sitting in her car with at least one gunshot wound. Dipuma said another woman was nearby on the phone with 911 dispatchers, but was too distraught to relay any information.
"I heard the noise, heard screaming outside, went to see if I could help," Dipuma, 38, said. She said she took over the phone call with emergency personnel.
"They had me open the door and check her pulse," Dipuma said. She said she found Kanouse was already dead, and her injuries too severe to even attempt CPR.
"She was trying to leave, it looked like. She was pulling out," Dipuma said.
Soon after, Dipuma said, a man parked in a different car nearby shot and killed himself.
“He was in his car the whole time,” Dipuma said of Warino. She said had she realized Kanouse's shooter was still close by she might not have been so quick to jump to Kanouse's aid.
"I had a child inside (my house)," Dipuma said. "I could have been in danger because he could have shot me, too."
Sheriff's deputies took into evidence the two cars where Kanouse and Warino were found dead.
Though Dipuma said she didn't know either of them personally, she said Kanouse and Warino were a couple.
“I’ve heard them fighting before, all the time, late at night,” Dipuma said, adding that the fights had always sounded just verbal.
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East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said there was no indication an argument incited the shooting, but called it another tragic case of domestic violence.
"These types of situations are extremely dangerous and potentially deadly," Moore said. "It's something that we really need to, as a community, state, nation, continue looking at: telltale signs of trouble, people struggling, that will eventually lead to something like this."
Moore could not confirm whether Warino has any history of domestic violence, but the prosecutor said there are some different events that may become relevant. Moore said he expects mental health issues will come up in the investigation.
Heath Hattaway, the campaign manager for John Young's 2015 run for lieutenant governor, said he knew Warino in the summer and fall of 2015 when he had volunteered with the campaign. During that time, Hattaway said, he had met Kanouse, introduced as Warino's girlfriend, at least once.
"Larry was a good volunteer, he represented the campaign well," said Hattaway, an attorney based in Ruston. "I had no reason to suspect he would ever be capable of doing anything like this."
Hattaway said the one specific time he remembers with Warino and Kanouse, they seemed happy together. However, he said he hasn't spoken to Warino or Kanouse in about two years.
"They seemed like normal college kids," Warino said, remembering them both attending University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
UL-Lafayette spokesman Charlie Bier confirmed that both Warino and Kanouse attended the school. Warino was last enrolled in spring of 2017 and had never obtained a degree. Kanouse had received a marketing degree from the university in 2015, Bier said.
Dipuma, who's lived in the Northwood subdivision off Wax Road since she was 11 and in the adjacent townhouses for the last five months, said she can't believe the events that played out Tuesday in her neighborhood, steps from her door.
"This is shocking, but, I mean, domestic violence can happen anywhere," said Dipuma.
"They need to do more about domestic violence and a restraining order. You shouldn’t have to get hit or killed in order to get some kind of protection. … They need to make some changes, because that’s what happens," she said, pointing to the area where the murder-suicide happened. "And it’s so sad. The cops, the legislators, the lobbyists, I just think they need to do something."
Moore said his office will continue to work on domestic violence issues. The number of domestic violence homicides this year have already well surpassed the total in 2016, according to The Advocate records.
"If you see any family member struggling — whether it's going to be a potential victim or defendant, notify somebody — another family member, clergy, law enforcement, school officials — do something," Moore said. "Send a help line out, and you may prevent something like this."