A West Feliciana Parish man was found shot to death early Saturday on Erie Street near Plank Road, the Baton Rouge Police Department reported.
Police found the body of Keith Matthews, 43, 5993 Street B, St. Francisville, at 2:18 a.m. in a parked car at 2749 Erie St., Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said in a news release.
Police believe Matthews was shot while sitting in his vehicle in the driveway of the vacant residence, McKneely said.
Darrick Moore, who lives next door to the house where Matthews was found shot, said he called police at about 2 a.m. to report noise next door.
“Car doors slammed, you hear cellphones and people talking and it woke me up,” said Moore. He said that while he was on the phone with police, his girlfriend said she heard fireworks, but he said he knew it wasn’t fireworks she heard.
McKneely said Matthews’ killing was not random, but detectives were unsure of the motive and were following leads in their investigation.
Whoever shot Matthews was inside the car with him, McKneely said.
Police believe Matthews was in the company of a prostitute at the time of his death, McKneely said.
Moore and John Williams, who has lived on Erie Street since 1996, both said prostitution has been a problem in the neighborhood for as long as they remember.
Williams said he sees mostly male prostitutes standing on the corner and some of them “dress as women.”
Moore said the occupant of 2749 Erie St. died about two years ago and since then, prostitutes have customers pull their cars into the driveway of the abandoned house and sometimes go inside.
Williams said prostitutes used to frequent a house across the street from 2749 Erie, until that house was demolished.
Moore said he thinks prostitutes working the neighborhood have radios that monitor police communications because although he calls the police frequently, the prostitutes and their customers always seem to slip away before police patrol cars arrive.
Cpl. McKneely agreed that prostitution is a problem on that stretch of Plank Road, but said he could not pinpoint a reason why.
Terry Matthews, the victim’s elder brother, said Saturday his family was taking the news of Keith Matthews’ death as well as could be expected.
Terry Matthews said he was worried about his mother because of her health and the fact that she had just lost her youngest son, but he said friends and a minister from her church came to her house to help.
“Basically, he was a momma’s boy, my momma’s baby boy,” Terry Matthews said.
Terry Matthews said his brother was a quiet man who spent a lot of time at home studying or working.
“He was just all about going to school and bettering himself,” Terry Matthews said of his brother. “I’ve never known him to be without a job.”
Terry Matthews’ eldest daughter, Akisha Milton, 30, was very close to her uncle and said Keith Matthews loved his nieces and nephews.
She said her uncle graduated from Southern University with a degree in education and was working to become a middle-school history teacher.
“He was a great person who never bothered anybody,” Milton said.
Matthews’ killing became the first homicide reported by East Baton Rouge Parish authorities in 2013, according to statistics compiled by The Advocate.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Baton Rouge Police Department at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP.