Janessa Hartley.jpg

Janessa Hartley

Baton Rouge police are asking Sherwood Forest residents to provide home surveillance footage that could help detectives solve a recent homicide in a neighborhood where violent crime almost never happens — one that has left the broader Baton Rouge community on edge.

Janessa Hartley, 57, was shot and killed in the driver's seat of her SUV Tuesday evening. The shooting occurred outside her friend's house on Brookshire Avenue. 

Police have not identified a suspect or motive in the case. But the department posted a request for help from the public on its Facebook page Thursday.

"Baton Rouge police detectives are seeking any private citizens' home surveillance footage of any suspicious vehicles (or) foot traffic in the Brookshire, Havenwood and Woodcliff areas," the post says. 

Hartley was dropping off her friend after dinner when the shooting occurred. The two women were sitting in Hartley's car chatting for a few more minutes outside the house when a masked gunman approached, according to the friend's fiance. 

Kenny Williams said Wednesday he believes the shooting resulted from an attempted armed robbery or carjacking. Police declined to comment on a possible motive but did confirm Hartley was dropping off her friend when she was shot. 

The shooting was captured on Williams' surveillance cameras. He said the footage shows a person — who appears to be a masked man — approach the car and fire one shot into the driver's side door. 

Williams said he turned over the video to police. His fiance, who was sitting in the passenger seat when the shooting occurred, declined to be interviewed about what happened. 

Hartley's death has left her friends and family devastated and searching for answers. And the brazen act of gun violence in an otherwise quiet residential subdivision has shocked Baton Rouge residents.

"It's scary to think this person is still out there," Williams said at his home Wednesday afternoon. "We're just hoping we get a call soon saying (authorities) found someone."

Baton Rouge police are asking anyone with information about the case to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.

The shooting occurred outside a house on Brookshire Avenue, which is part of a residential neighborhood just south of Goodwood Boulevard and north of Old Hammond Highway. The area extends from Havenwood Drive east to Woodcliff Drive. 

Police requested video footage from homes in the area, not just those in close proximity to the crime scene.


Follow Lea Skene on Twitter, @lea_skene.