A man was found dead from gunshot wounds in an abandoned house late Wednesday morning — the latest casualty in a recent spike of deadly gun violence plaguing Baton Rouge neighborhoods.
Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely Jr. said crews responded around 11:50 a.m. to the 2500 block of Dayton Street, which is a small residential neighborhood between Plank Road and Interstate 110 close to the highway overpass.
In East Baton Rouge Parish, 87 people were killed in 2018.
A man later identified as Brian Allen Cook, 42, of Kyle, Texas, was found dead from gunshot wounds inside an abandoned house. But McKneely said it's unclear when the shooting happened. He said the coroner will conduct an autopsy to determine when the victim was killed.
Police have not identified any suspects or motives.
This incident marks East Baton Rouge Parish's third homicide within the past 24 hours and the fifth person killed in four days. Another person was shot and killed Tuesday evening outside an abandoned house on Jackson Avenue, just off North Acadian Thruway.
Rafael Walls, who owns the abandoned home on Dayton Street along with his sister, said he has seen people hanging out on the back porch from time to time and asked them to leave. Walls and his sister inherited the house from their parents several years ago and have been planning to renovate it once they can afford the necessary repairs.
Walls was on the scene Wednesday afternoon boarding up windows that had been broken and likely provided an entrance for intruders.
"There are so many good memories in that house," he said. "I still can't believe this happened here. It's something you see on the news — not in the house you grew up in. My mother and father would turn over in their graves. … They worked so hard for this house."
Walls, 65, said the current state of his childhood home reflects the overall decline of the neighborhood, which has changed drastically in recent decades.
"We used to walk to school right there," he said, gesturing toward an old elementary school building that's now a discipline center for suspended students. "All this killing is new to us. We used to fight, then the next day we'd be laughing. Now you get in a fight with somebody and they come back with a gun."
Neighbors reported hearing several gunshots a couple days ago but said they don't believe a shooting occurred within the past 24 hours.
Anyone with information on this incident is urged to contact the Baton Rouge police Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.
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