'Sick and tired': Police chief vents frustrations after violent week in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE- What was meant to be an announcement about a recent drop in homicides on Friday, became something else.
"42-44% reduction in homicides, year to date, on top of last year's 20% decrease," Deputy Chief Myron Daniels said.
Police were making plans to tout that decrease in homicides when a rash of gun violence that started this past weekend, several of the shootings turning out to be fatal.
As police Chief Murphy Paul lamented the sudden up-tick in shootings, he seemingly turned his frustration toward the courts.
"I get sick and tired of hearing from my police officers that we're dealing with the same individuals," Paul said. "And I'm talking about people that we arrested for homicides. Facts! I'm talking about people we arrested for shootings. Facts!"
The chief's fiery comments came after the commander of violent crimes offered an update to eight deadly shootings in the last seven days. There were several other shootings that sent people to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
"At least two appear to be drug-related. Three were arguments or fights that led to shootings between persons who were acquainted or related. Three have unknown motives or suspects at this time," Capt. Kevin Heinz said.
"We have to stop these violent criminals who are continuing to terrorize our neighborhoods out on the streets. If we just focus on them, we could reduce crime another 20%," Chief Paul said.
The problem, officials say, is repeat offenders, easily getting back on the streets.
"There has to be more accountability, more than 4,000 felon arrests last year, now how many of them do you think are still walking the streets? Do a story on that," Chief Paul said before abruptly ending the press conference.
WBRZ has repeatedly covered that exact problem in East Baton Rouge, where repeat offenders are given low bonds. Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto even sat down with one judge who spoke candidly on the issue.
Meanwhile police say they are doing everything they can, including adding more license plate readers and 48 crime cameras across the city, as well as using more drones. They hope those measures will help combat violent crime.
Chief Paul also asked the community take advantage of a long list of resources provided by the city.
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