Baton Rouge police and mayor discuss the uptick in crime across the city.

“Pray for this city” | After violent weekend & growing homicide numbers, leaders address Baton Rouge crime wave

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BATON ROUGE — With the daily murder count on the rise in Baton Rouge, city officials are grappling with the surge in crime over recent months.

Baton Rouge is currently witnessing a doubling of the homicide rate compared to this same period last year. Last weekend proved especially violent, marked by multiple shootings and fatalities within the Capital City.

“Prayer can bring crime to an end”

“I want to … (ask) you to pray for this city and parish,” East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said during Monday’s news conference. “We’re putting the work next to our faith. Despite the numbers, I believe we can have divine intervention to assist our officers and move on the hearts of the men and women to stop this senseless crime and lawlessness. I believe our prayer can bring crime to an end and resurrect safety in our community.”

Baton Rouge Police Chief TJ Morse, Jr. noted the “very noticeable uptick” in violent crime across Baton Rouge. As of March 25, there have been 26 homicides in the city of Baton Rouge.

In the month of March alone, there have been 28 separate shooting incidents across the city.

“We’ve been here before,” Broome said. “And just as we’ve done before, we will drive down the crime statistics once again. I will not waver in my commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of every resident in Baton Rouge.

“It disappoints me to see law-abiding citizens who contribute to our community and abide by the rules having to watch as those choosing to break the law openly defy the peace and safety we all have a right to. Let me make one thing abundantly clear: the individuals perpetrating these crimes are a small number… but their actions are having far-reaching consequences. To those who believe they can escape the law, I say this with absolute certainty: it will not happen. If you break the law, you will be investigated, arrested, and held accountable by our criminal justice system.”

Suspects & victims getting “younger and younger”

The ages of both the victims and suspects is something that both the mayor and police chief noted when addressing the crime in 2024.

“I want the public to know that what we’ve been experiencing in regards to shootings in our city have mostly been very personable, highly-targeted incidents,” Morse said. “Our detectives investigating these events inform me that they’re learning of incidents with multiple shooters, close ties between both victims and suspects, and escalation of disputes and fights. Again, the vast majority of the shootings have not been random in nature.”

Morse says that he believes proactive policing implemented by BRPD is helping. He notes that so far this year, there have been 734 felony arrests, 176 juvenile arrests, 306 guns seized and 15 homicide arrests. Of the 15 arrested for homicide, six have been juveniles.

“This is very alarming considering last year nine juveniles were arrested for homicide in the total of 2023,” Morse said. “Our suspects and victims are not only increasingly familiar with one another, but they are getting younger and younger.”

Morse said that he is directing his officers to zero in on the “small group” of individuals who are involved in the shootings. He says that he’s increasing resources for certain divisions and to pay for more directive, proactive overtime patrols.

“This will result in the public seeing more police units on the streets,” Morse said.

Violent weekend in Baton Rouge

One tragic incident this past weekend occurred when a father of two lost his life while celebrating his friend’s bachelor party at Fred’s in Tigerland. Devin Repath, 26, was assaulted and rushed to the hospital in critical condition on Saturday, according to reliable sources. He died on Monday morning, his father tells UWK.

Devin Repath (Photo provided by family)

READ MORE: Father of two dies while out celebrating bachelor party in Tigerland
READ MORE: Young man shot dozens of times as he walked out of store

“This is so hard. I would have never, ever, ever, ever thought this would have happened. I mean, I guess who does? But Friday evening when he left to go to Baton Rouge, I said, ‘Come home safe. You have your kids to come home to.’ He told me, ‘I know that pops.’ That was the last thing I said to him,” JP Repath, Devin’s dad, told UWK.

On Sunday afternoon, a 22-year-old man was fatally shot multiple times as he exited the Save More on Nicholson Dr. near LSU. BRPD says he was targeted by three men. Shortly after, authorities responded to a double shooting involving two young teenagers near Howell Park. A 14-year-old suspect produced a handgun and started shooting during a fistfight.

And on Saturday night, gunfire erupted resulting in a person being struck by a bullet fired in the direction of a police officer.

“It’s not enough to just say that we’re tired of our youth being at the core of senseless violence,” Broome said. “Our focus is laser-sharp on the small number of individuals who are causing violence and unrest in our streets.

“As the mayor-president of this parish, I understand my responsibility as a leader. However, I want to be clear that everyone engaged in law enforcement in this parish is pulling together in the same direction.”

READ MORE: K-9 catches 18-yearr-old accused of shooting at police with bullet hitting someone inside a home
READ MORE: BRPD investigating two shootings, one on Nicholson & a double shooting involving a teen

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