After waiting outside the yellow crime scene tape for over an hour surrounded by grieving family and neighbors, a Baton Rouge mother darted past police officers, hoping to see her son just one last time.
The young man was shot to death on Gayosa Street late Thursday afternoon, the latest victim of persistent Baton Rouge gun violence.
Police have not yet released his name, but loved ones were already demanding justice, calling out to officers on the scene in desperate attempts to ensure the killer gets caught.
The shooting marked the fifth homicide within the past week across East Baton Rouge Parish, where the murder rate broke all previous records in 2020 and shows no sign of slowing this year. On Tuesday, a star football player at Istrouma High School was gunned down outside his Old South Baton Rouge home while two of his friends ran for their lives.
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The Thursday shooting was reported around 3:50 p.m. in the 2600 block of Gayosa Street, a residential neighborhood a block north of North Street.
Detectives spent about two hours collecting evidence. First responders removed the body from inside a house, though evidence markers in the yard suggested the shooting started outside.
Several family members tried to duck under the crime tape. They shouted to officers, struggling to accept what was happening, holding onto each other for support.
Then the mom started running. She made it several yards before police stopped her with help from state Rep. Denise Marcelle, who arrived on scene and almost immediately established order. Marcelle lived on that block for 15 years and now rents out her old house.
She said someone in the neighborhood called her after hearing about the shooting. She offered words of support for the family and conferred with police. She said the victim and his relatives had recently moved there.
"It disturbs me that another mother is out here screaming about her child, a sister screaming about her brother," Marcelle said. "The question becomes: When does it stop?"
Whatever was behind this killing, she said, it likely wasn't worth dying over. But in a culture where even petty disputes end in gunfire finding solutions is challenging.
Marcelle — who served on the East Baton Rouge Metro Council before joining the Louisiana Legislature and ran for mayor last year — spoke about the need for grassroots organizing and serious efforts to address systemic causes of violence, like widespread poverty and a struggling education system. She said police can't arrest their way out of the problem, but more officers on the streets might help.
No additional details about the shooting were available Thursday evening, though an update from police was expected later that night.
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