Police blame record homicides on group violence, plead for community intervention
BATON ROUGE - In a record year for homicides, police are blaming repeat offenders—often juveniles—who run in groups.
"I hear from our police officers when we're out there is 'Chief, we are dealing with the same individuals, over and over again,'" Chief Murphy Paul said.
During a press conference about a Friday night shooting that killed a 22-year-old man and a 5-year-old boy, Paul said his detectives are finding a lot of violent incidents can be tied to the same people.
"We're starting to connect them to other shootings in Baton Rouge," Lt. Kevin Heinz said.
Heinz was likely talking about 18-year-old known gang member Jerill Addison, who was arrested for an October shooting on S. Flannery and released on bond over the weekend. Police say he is connected to multiple homicides.
"A lot of the shootings we are seeing are retaliatory," Heinz said.
Police say intervention is the only way to get those homicide numbers down.
"We believe that there are opportunities for intervention and prevention," Paul said.
That's where Murray Tate Jr. has dedicated nearly 30 years of his life.
"I've often expressed to them about gun violence of getting into gangs. I say your gang is right here with this basketball team," Tate said.
Leading showtime basketball, he hopes getting kids involved in the sport will deter them from joining gangs. He says he's been successful so far.
"You don't need to be involved in any kind of, excuse my French, stupidity. And I think the majority of them listen to me. I haven't gotten any reports that they've done anything wrong, not criminal anyway."
But even though Tate says his players don't turn to guns or gangs, it doesn't mean they aren't affected by them. One of his former players, Anfernee Holden, was gunned down in 2019. Holden's son, Jamison, was killed the year before.
"There is no singular solution to violent crime. It's a complex issue. I've said that before, prevention, intervention, and enforcement requires a wholistic community response," Paul said.
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