A man was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon in the middle of Convention Street, where his body remained uncovered in plain sight for over an hour while Baton Rouge police collected evidence and the victim's relatives watched in horror from behind crime-scene tape.
The shooting was reported around 2 p.m. near the intersection of Convention and North 13th Street, about one block south of the Greyhound bus station east of downtown.
Police identified the victim Wednesday evening as Daryl Chaney, 45. His name was released several hours after his mother and other relatives gathered on the scene. They stood in the afternoon sun, wiping sweat and tears off their faces.
Chaney had been pronounced dead when emergency crews arrived, officials said. Officers placed several evidence markers surrounding the body.
Braxton Daigle, a tow truck driver who was dropping off a vehicle at a collision center on Convention Street, said he heard gunshots and looked in his rearview mirror, then saw the victim fall to the ground. He immediately called 911 and waited for police to arrive.
He said the shooter fired at least seven rounds and then fled the scene on foot.
More than an hour after Daigle reported the shooting to police, the victim's body remained lying face-up in the street, exposed and clearly visible to the groups of people who had gathered outside the crime tape.
His relatives held onto each other for support and stared incredulously at the body, wondering what was taking so long.
"He's baking out there in the sun," said a family friend who asked to remain anonymous since the shooter remains at large. "Can y'all at least cover the man up so his momma doesn't have to see him like that?"
BRPD has large cloth screens that investigators sometimes use to block bodies from view at homicide scenes if the victim would otherwise be clearly visible to spectators.
Baton Rouge police spokesperson Sgt. L'Jean McKneely Jr. said crime scene investigators were trying to process the scene on Convention Street as quickly as possible, but he didn't explain why that prevented them from using the screens. He also noted that placing a tarp or other covering directly over the body can contaminate evidence.
A teenager was gunned down outside a Baton Rouge convenience store around lunchtime Wednesday just minutes after leaving his house, the victim…
Investigators with the coroner's office later removed the body once police had finished documenting the scene.
The shooting Wednesday afternoon marks the latest act of deadly gun violence in Baton Rouge during an ongoing spike in homicides that threatens to make 2020 the parish's most murderous year on record. The number of homicides parishwide since January is already approaching the total for all of 2019, which ended the year with 83 lives lost in intentional and unjustified killings, according to records maintained by The Advocate.
Experts and local leaders have attributed the increased violence to the turmoil and challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, which has upended normal life and left many people unemployed. Cities across the country have seen similar upticks in violence over the past several months.
Four people have now been killed in Baton Rouge over the past five days, including a toddler who was shot and killed when someone fired into her father's car Friday evening. Two other children were also injured in separate and unrelated shootings since then, though they're both expected to survive.