Baton Rouge city leaders decried another night of violence Saturday after a toddler was killed in what's believed to be a drive-by shooting, and urged the public to help find those responsible for her death and bring them to justice. 

"Last night a beautiful life was taken in our city," said Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul in a written statement. "This community needs to be angry and brokenhearted as well."

Ibrie Combs, 3, was shot and killed in the 400 block of South Flannery Road around 9:03 p.m. Friday, according to BRPD spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely Jr. 

McKneely said Ibrie was in a car heading northbound when its driver — her father — passed another car. The driver of the vehicle her father had passed then sped up alongside Ibrie's car. 

As the vehicle passed, its occupant shot into Ibrie's car, critically injuring the girl. The car crashed after the shooting and the girl's father was taken to a  hospital for injuries from the crash.

Ibrie was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have not yet released the name of Ibrie's father as he recovers at the hospital.

At the scene Saturday, a strip of police tape remained affixed to a nearby traffic sign, fluttering in the wind.

Debris from the wreckage was stacked along the roadway, which bordered a fenced-in residential area to one side and a neat trailer park on the other. A surveillance camera could be seen mounted on a nearby building. 

McKneely said detectives are hoping video footage will help identify the vehicle involved in the shooting. A description of the vehicle was not available Saturday as police continued to investigate. 

East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome released a statement early Saturday that her "heart is heavy."

"The community has to honor this child’s life," she said. "If you know who did this, please contact the authorities immediately."

District Attorney Hillar Moore III added that, although he does not have many of the facts in the investigation, the incident is a tragedy.

"Regardless of any motive that is determined it is unbelievably tragic for a child of such a young age to be the victim of senseless violence," he said. 

Paul said he believes that someone in the community has vital information that could help detectives find who killed Ibrie. He implored people in the community to consider the trauma of losing a child to gun violence and asked that they exercise their empathy to do the right thing. 

"I have a question for the person who has information that can help our detectives," he said. "If it was your loved one who died, wouldn't you want that brave person to come forward and do the right thing? We need your help!"

Ibrie's death was the second homicide on Friday after a recent lull in deadly incidents across the parish.

A 22-year-old woman, Pauliqua Evans, was found dead from what's believed to be gunshot wounds at a Tigerland apartment complex Friday around 9:30 a.m. Sgt. Don Coppola Jr. said Saturday that two children were found unharmed in the residence when police responded to the shooting and were later released to family members. 

Prior to Evans' and Ibrie's shootings, there had been roughly two weeks of calm in the city. These latest deaths bring the parish homicide total to 73 — just 10 victims shy of 2019's final tally as violent deaths have surged during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In the meantime, Paul said police would work to eradicate gun violence in the city.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at 344-7867(STOP).

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story named the victim in the shooting as Ivorie Combs, age 4. Baton Rouge Police sent a correction Saturday afternoon providing the proper spelling and age of the victim's name.


Email Jacqueline DeRobertis at jderobertis@theadvocate.com