A teenager was gunned down outside a Baton Rouge convenience store around lunchtime Wednesday just minutes after leaving his house, the victim's friends and relatives said on the scene, some weeping and pleading with nearby police officers to bring them justice.
The shooting occurred shortly before 1 p.m. in the 5700 block of Prescott Road near its intersection with West Brookstown Drive, according to Baton Rouge police. Authorities have not identified the victim, but relatives said he was a teenager who lived with his mom and other relatives just around the corner from where he was killed.
Several family members watched from outside the crime scene tape as detectives started their investigation.
"This child matters. He matters. All our children matter," the victim's aunt Kimberly Stevenson shouted from where she was standing. She was overcome with grief and frustration, directing her words at the officers stationed around her. "Maybe to y'all it's just another life lost on Prescott — just another child gunned down in his own neighborhood."
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, who had recently arrived on the scene, heard the woman and walked over to her. The chief spoke with the victim's family for several minutes. He listened to Stevenson's cries for help, then hugged her and promised his detectives will do everything in their power to solve the case.
Stevenson said she feels Baton Rouge cops could do more to reduce gun violence in some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods — communities of color where many residents struggle to overcome the lasting impacts of poverty and inequality.
"Shot down in broad daylight," Stevenson said, standing in the afternoon sun as temperatures climbed into the 90s. "You can't even walk to the store."
The victim's body lay in the parking lot of Tak's Food Mart and Larry's Laundromat for over an hour until a coroner's van arrived and transported it from the scene. About 20 evidence markers were scattered across the parking lot.
Baton Rouge police have released few details about the shooting aside from where and when it happened.
Relatives said the victim was 18. They said he grew up in the neighborhood and was a good kid who loved his family. He had recently started working at McDonald's.
His mom said he had just left their house that afternoon, heading to the store to grab a snack or drink. She thought nothing of it because her son did that all the time.
"What else is there to say?" she said. "They tell me my baby is lying there in the heat with a hole in his back."
The shooting Wednesday marks the second Baton Rouge homicide this week, though killings overall are trending down compared to both 2017 and 2018.
.@BRPD on the scene of a fatal shooting outside a convenience store here on Prescott Road. About 20 evidence markers scattered across the parking lot. Police have released few details but one person has been pronounced dead. pic.twitter.com/mozOEt8GMs— Lea Skene (@lea_skene) October 2, 2019
This is a developing story.