One person was shot and killed early Thursday morning in a neighborhood off Plank Road that historically has seen a high rate of gun violence and unsolved crime — more than a dozen people killed within a few blocks over the past five years.
Police responded to reports of the shooting in the 2400 block of Jackson Avenue off Plank Road just before 4 a.m., according to police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely Jr.
Authorities said Curley Woods, 57, was found with multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. No suspects or motives have been identified.
Details about the shooting were scarce later that day, but neighbors reported hearing about six shots around 4 a.m. — two initial shots followed about 30 seconds later with four more.
Neighbors said the victim's body was lying near the corner of Plank Road and Jackson Avenue several feet from a neighborhood grocery store on one side of the street and an auto mechanic's shop on the other.
The address police provided for Woods is 2717 Chippewa Street, another residential neighborhood several blocks farther north off Plank Road.
Some traces of blood remained on the pavement Thursday morning and remnants of crime scene tape suggested police had cordoned off an area in front of the store extending across Plank Road. Store employees said the business closes each night between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
The store does have an outdoor surveillance camera and employees said the police had come and retrieved some video footage after the shooting.
About 15 homicides have occurred in that area — within roughly four blocks extending along both sides of Plank Road and Interstate 110 just north of BREC's Memorial Stadium — over the past five years. All but three of those cases remain unsolved.
Dezarae Warner, 25, was killed in November in the 2400 block of Washington Avenue, just one block south of where Woods was shot. Her ex-boyfriend was later arrested and accused in the shooting.
And just one month earlier, Da'Journ Holmes, 26, was shot multiple times while driving and crashed his car in the 1700 block of Plank Road. He died at the scene and an arrest has not been made.
That area was identified as one of two in Baton Rouge that have seen a high concentration of unsolved homicides over the past several years, according to a recent Washington Post analysis of crime data across the country. The second area is also not far from Plank Road and includes Mohican Street and Prescott Road. An area with a high concentration of solved homicides lies roughly in between.
McKneely, the police spokesman, said he doesn't think there's any particular reason that some neighborhoods would see more homicide cases solved than others.
"Everything is handled on a case by case basis, and the solving of the homicide is dependent on the evidence that we have collected and witnesses coming forward," he said. "It varies completely. It has nothing to do with what area or who's involved."
The killing Thursday morning followed weeks of relative peace in Baton Rouge as the end of June and beginning of July have seen an unusually low number of homicides.
The murder rate remained elevated during the first six months of 2018 after climbing to a record high in 2017. But homicide numbers have fallen in recent weeks and experts have suggested they could continue to taper off during the second half of 2018.
Jackson Avenue residents said the neighborhood is no stranger to violent crime and gunshots are not infrequent.
"This area is bad," said one resident who feared being identified. "But I hope they catch somebody. I want the law to get all the killers off the street."
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