Baton Rouge: Homicides up nearly 113% compared to this time last year

homicides up
Triple shooting scene with evidence markers of shell casings from W. Roosevelt Street.

BATON ROUGE, La. – Homicides in Baton Rouge are up, more than double compared to the same time last year. Those statistics are only for homicides within the city limits of Baton Rouge and do not factor in the rest of East Baton Rouge Parish. However, the Baton Rouge Police Chief says the increased crime is not random. Instead, it’s targeted or retaliatory shootings.

There have been 17 homicides in Baton Rouge in January and February, compared to eight at the same time last year. In fact, sources tell UWK, Baton Rouge did not have 17 homicides in 2023 until the middle of April.

“The vast majority of shootings we have seen this year have been targeted acts of violence or retaliatory in nature,” BRPD Chief TJ Morse tells UWK. The top cop added they’re taking every measure to combat the increased crime but stressed to the public that the crime is not random.

This past week alone, between Feb. 25 through Feb. 29, there have been nine shootings in a five-day span only adding to the number of homicides. In those nine shootings, four people died and another 10 people were injured. Plus, there were several shootings in which multiple people were shot.

  • Feb. 25 (6 p.m.): Cesar Ayala-Ortiz, 21, was found dead in a parking lot from a gunshot wound at the East Plaza shopping center in the 12000 block of Florida Blvd. Police said he was killed after a physical and verbal argument.
  • Feb. 26 (3 a.m.): Shortly after 2:45 a.m., a man heard multiple shots while walking in the 4900 block of Gus Young Ave. near North 49th and Urban streets. To his surprise, he had been shot and a friend took him to the hospital.
  • Feb. 26 (8 p.m.): A woman was driving in the 8500 block of Elm Grove Garden Dr. near JK Haynes Elementary Charter when occupants of a vehicle started shooting at her car. Officials say the suspects returned and continued shooting at her car until the woman couldn’t drive it. No injuries were reported, but the vehicle was hit several times.
  • Feb. 26 (8 p.m.): Two people were injured in a drive-by shooting outside of a grocery store. It happened on Elmer Ave. in the Sewell Grocery Store parking lot. A man and woman were transported to a hospital for their injuries.
  • Feb. 26 (10:30 p.m.): A man was injured while driving down Airline Highway when a vehicle pulled up next to him and started shooting. It happened in the 3300 block of Airline Hwy. near Winbourne Dr. The driver was hit multiple times and jumped out of the vehicle. He was rushed to a hospital and his car was riddled with dozens of bullet holes.
  • Feb. 27 (12:30 a.m.): Two people died after a shooting in the 900 block of N. 37th Street. Several rounds were fired around 12:45 a.m. D’ontae Bethley, 18, was found dead at a home in the 1300 block of North 38th Street. That’s about one-third of a mile from the original scene of the shooting. Luis Servin, 19, was transported to a hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
  • Feb. 28 (3:45 a.m.): A triple shooting left one woman dead and two additional women injured on Underwood Ave. Destiny Buckley, 29, died on the scene. One woman was transported in critical condition while a third woman was injured from shrapnel.
  • Feb. 28 (1:30 p.m.): Police responded to the second triple shooting of the day about seven miles away from the first triple shooting early in the morning. Three people were injured in all, two of them were found in the 1300 block of W. Roosevelt Street and the third person was found a block away on Indiana and W. Garfield streets.
  • Feb. 28 (7:30 p.m.): A large fight broke out in the Save More parking lot near Plank Rd. & Shelley St. Shots were fired and a man was transported to a hospital for his injuries.

That is a total of nine separate shootings in four days.

In response to the surge in crime, Chief Morse said he wants the public to know “Our officers are out there working tirelessly to investigate these acts. We’re using all sorts of techniques like boots on the ground, technology, tips from the public and I want to reiterate that majority of the acts so far this year have been retaliatory or targeted. They’re not random.”

Watch Now: Raw interview one-on-one with BRPD Chief TJ Morse

The chief pointed to the nine people arrested earlier in the week who have affiliations with “street groups” in East Baton Rouge Parish. Many are facing armed robbery and drug-related charges with some facing “criminal street gang” charges.

It was a joint effort from EBRSO and BRPD and additional charges are pending for the nine people.

“We’re taking steps to use technology and investigative efforts to bring charges upon these people for various criminal activity that they’re involved in and we’re hoping to see through our detective’s efforts, like the nine arrests we made this week, that we will start to see a downward trend,” said Chief Morse.

Anyone with information on any of the shootings or homicides is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 225-344-STOP.

Download the Unfiltered with Kiran app from the Apple App Store and Google Play to updated on any new developments.

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