sirens stock police lights

File photo

A young woman was shot to death during an argument Tuesday evening outside her Baker apartment building, marking the city's first homicide in the past two years amid a spike in the murder rate parishwide. 

Baker Police chief Carl Dunn said the victim was 21 years old. She was sitting in her car outside an apartment building on Weston Avenue, which is off Groom Road, when the shooting occurred around 5:30 p.m. Her name has not been released pending notification of her relatives.

"This is just very sad — our first homicide in two years," Dunn said at the scene. "This one we're gonna solve, but it should have never happened."

Police have identified a suspect who fled the scene after the shooting. Dunn said detectives believe there was an earlier dispute, possibly involving the victim and the suspect's girlfriend. He wasn't able to provide more details on why they were arguing.

The victim lived in one of several large apartment buildings in the area. 

Dunn said it's a difficult area for his officers to monitor because so many people move in and out frequently. But he plans to post more officers in the area starting tomorrow for added security.

The Baker homicide Tuesday evening came following an especially violent weekend in neighboring Baton Rouge, where five people were shot to death on Friday alone and others were injured over the weekend. The murder rate parishwide has reached a historic high over the past several months, though the city of Baker had avoided contributing to that toll until now. 

The city has seen shootings with injury during that time, including a September drug deal that devolved into a shootout and left four people wounded. But all those victims survived their injuries.

Meanwhile more than 100 people have been killed in unjustified and intentional acts of violence across East Baton Rouge so far this year, with still another month left in 2020. The parish has surpassed that grim milestone just once before — when 2017 became the most murderous year on record. 2020 is on track to see even more killings.

Email Lea Skene at