North 24th Street homicide scene

Blood remains visible on a patch of grass along North 24th Street, where the body of a man — whose name has not been released -- was found shot to death early Wednesday. The unsolved homicide was one of three to rock Baton Rouge in as many days over the holiday week. 

Baton Rouge was shaken by three separate homicides in as many days during Thanksgiving week. 

On Tuesday night, police say a 16-year-old shot two men in a residential neighborhood around Linwood and Chippewa streets, wounding one and killing the other: 29-year-old Baton Rouge resident Kendrick Gibson, who was gunned down a block from his home on Pimpernel Street.

The next morning, on Wednesday, an unnamed man's body was found shot to death on the sidewalk of North 24th Street. 

Then, at around 5 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, police say another man, 33-year-old Justin Henry, was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound outside his apartment at 1840 Gayosa St., a few blocks from Magnolia Cemetery.

Although the case remains unsolved, police say they believe the shooting stemmed from a robbery.  

Residents of all three neighborhoods reacted with shock and disbelief at the killings.

"Over here, it's nice," said a resident of Pimpernel Street who asked to remain anonymous. "Nobody fights. Everybody knows each other on this block."

She said she was watching TV Tuesday night when she heard what sounded like two gunshots. But she said the disturbance wasn't followed by sirens.

"Nothing happens around here," she reiterated, so she thought nothing of it.

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A woman who lives in the apartments where Justin Henry was killed said she awoke early in the morning to the sound of gunshots close to her window. 

"I was scared," she said. "It woke me up."

It wasn't until later that she and her family learned the victim was the brother of one of their friends. 

Now at 134 homicides since Jan. 1, Baton Rouge has well surpassed 2020's previous record of 114 killings with still more than a month left in 2021.

Some longtime residents around this week's shootings said the uptick is noticeable. 

As he examined a blood-soaked patch of grass along North 24th Street Wednesday where the unnamed shooting victim's body was found hours earlier, one man — who also asked to remain anonymous but identified himself as someone who's worked in the neighborhood for more than two decades — said he's watched the city change for the worse over the last several years. 

"It's kind of scary," he said. "As soon as (kids) get old enough to go get a gun, that's the first thing they do. Me and my kids, we don't come out at night."

When the man arrived at his workplace early Wednesday, he said much of the street was flooded with police and crime scene tape.

He said the body lay just yards from an adjacent strip of businesses.   

The violence, he said, "it's getting worse and worse."