Mayor, Chief of Police discuss shooting death of toddler in WBRZ interview
BATON ROUGE - The community is mourning the death of 3-year-old Ibrie Combs, who was shot and killed on Friday night while traveling as a passenger in a vehicle within the 500 block of South Flannery Road, and Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and Baton Rouge Chief of Police Murphy Paul joined 2une In Monday morning to discuss Combs' death as well as the disturbing increase in crime in the capital city within the past few weeks.
As of Monday morning, the suspect responsible for shooting Combs to death remains at large and Chief Paul confirmed that at this time authorities remain unsure as to whether or not the shooting that led to her death was the result of road rage.
This lack of information about the circumstances surrounding a homicide and the suspects involved often occurs when those who know what happened choose not to speak up, Broome and Paul explained, creating a frustrating situation for authorities.
While speaking with WBRZ's John Pastorek on 2une In, the two officials urged members of the community who have information regarding the incident to share these details with authorities by calling either 389-2000 or Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP.
"We need people to step up to the plate," Mayor Broome said. "If they saw something, they must say something to honor the memory of this child."
"Do the right thing," Chief Paul said. "There is someone out there who knows something. Not just in this homicide, but in all homicides that have happened in our city."
"One thing that frustrates me at times is when I get these briefings from my detectives the persons responsible for these acts have communicated it to someone," the chief added. "They don't pick up the phone and call law enforcement because obviously there would be intervention and we would stop that act from happening. But you know who they communicate it with? Someone in their inner circle. So, we're saying you have an opportunity to stop crime from happening or prevent it from happening again."
The chief went on to explain how crippling the so-called "stop snitching" code has been to the community and it's negative impact on crime.
"I know people don't like to pick up the phone and call law enforcement," Paul said. "But there is a code that has been in our community for far to long, and it is called 'stop snitching' where we con't like to communicate with law enforcement in some parts of our community."
"You know what happens when we believe that lie? That lie was made by a criminal so that he or she can continue their illegal activity. But what happens is those individuals in the community, those less than 6%, continue to terrorize our communities. Until we get sick and tired and pick up that phone and be willing to save those lives, we will continue to fight this challenge."
Chief Paul explained that Baton Rouge's rate of domestic violence crimes is high, and said police are addressing it through patrol strategies and partnerships with national public-safety organizations. Another area of concern, Chief Paul said, are homicides and shooting incidents.
"We need to get a better handle on it," he admitted.
Mayor Broome said some concerned citizens have taken the initiative to fight crime by working alongside Baton Rouge Police in their own neighborhoods.
She praised the Sherwood Forest Crime Prevention District, for example, for partnering with Baton Rouge Police to protect their neighborhood and work to prevent crimes in their area.
"I anticipate that we'll see more communities who say, 'Look, I want to partner with the police. We've got this Crime Prevention District, we've got some dollars. Let's do what we can to help minimize and reduce crime in our neighborhood."
She also said Baton Rouge Police have made strides to reduce crime in the community and have had success in certain areas.
"Since the chief has been in office working with his team, community policing has been working and we have had more incidents where people have reached out to the police to report people that they know, but also to proactively avoid potential situations," Mayor Broome explained..
In his final remarks to John Pastorek, Chief Paul reemphasized that one of the best ways the community can honor young Ibrie Combs is to help bring her killer to justice.
"That person whose listening to your show," Chief Paul said, "that person who knows the person responsible for it needs to pick up the phone. A loved one of that person needs to pick up the phone and call 344- STOP and lets get this person behind bars."
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