Person shot at popular Baton Rouge dog park; gunfire sent bystanders running
BATON ROUGE - The sound of gunfire had people scrambling for cover at a usually quiet dog park Wednesday night.
Eyewitnesses said it was a normal evening at City Park's dog park, located along Dalrymple Drive just south of the Garden District, when people heard what they thought were fireworks around 7 p.m.
“It was like a really loud pop or something. Yeah, cause it happened, one happened. There was a few seconds, and then another happened, and we were all kind of like, 'what's going on?' Like, no one knew,” said Abby Reinert and Kenny Snell, who were walking their dog at the time.
They told WBRZ they heard two shots, saw people running in different directions, and then saw a person slumped over a picnic table. The Baton Rouge Police Department said one person was shot near the park bathrooms.
That person was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
We spoke with someone at the park who says she couldn't believe a shooting happened at an otherwise quiet area.
"I found it crazy we're just moving here, and I love this park and I take my three-year-old here to play all the time, and it just boggles my mind that there was a shooting here," Emily Dearing told WBRZ Thursday.
Police are still investigating the incident, but detectives believe the victim was shot after getting into a fight with someone.
It's the second time this month that law enforcement is investigating reports of a violent crime at a BREC park after an attempted rape was reported at Forest Community Park.
A BREC spokesperson shared the following statement with WBRZ on Thursday:
For the second time in three weeks, one of BREC’s community parks was the scene of a violent crime, as a visitor to City-Brooks Community Park was shot and transported to the hospital. Just as with the incident at Forest Community Park last month, BREC staff immediately responded by calling 911 and getting Park Rangers, law enforcement and EMS to the scene. Thanks to that quick action, the victim is expected to recover.
Our parks are supposed to be safe places for residents of all backgrounds to gather, and we will continue to do our part to make East Baton Rouge Parish safer by providing well-designed and well-maintained places for people to get out and be active, as well as offering programs and events for kids and residents of all ages, as we know an active park is a safe park. While we can’t prevent every crime, we can make it clear that we won’t tolerate it in our parks and that we have systems in place to ensure the perpetrators are identified and arrested, such as the man arrested for the attack on the hiker at Forest Community Park. BREC cameras provided the video evidence police needed to identify the suspect and make the arrest in the case.
We have more than 1,100 cameras at more than 70 facilities all across the parish and will continue efforts like camera installation, patrols by Park Rangers, partnerships with law enforcement and signage encouraging park visitors as well as BREC staff to remain vigilant in their surroundings, especially in remote areas, to ensure our parks remain as safe as possible.
Crime is a community issue and BREC is intentionally building partnerships with as many entities as we can to make East Baton Rouge not just a better place to live, work and play, but a safer place for all of us.