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Sunday's fatal shooting marks fifth homicide over five weeks in North Sherwood area

1 month 4 weeks 5 hours ago Sunday, March 31 2024 Mar 31, 2024 March 31, 2024 9:00 PM March 31, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A man was killed in a shooting Easter morning along Cate Avenue, near an area of Florida Boulevard that has been marred by murders over the past five weeks.

The Baton Rouge Police Department said 35-year-old Edward Brooks was shot around 11:15 a.m. in the middle of Cate Avenue, in a neighborhood just off Marque Ann Drive. Brooks was taken to a hospital where he later died.

Police said no information about the shooting was immediately available, but said that 'proactive policing' officers will be patrolling the neighborhood due to the uptick in violent crime. Sunday's killing marked the fifth deadly shooting in the area. Three of the murders remain unsolved.

The series of shootings started Sunday, Feb. 25 when 21-year-old Cesar Ayala-Ortiz was shot to death in the parking lot of the Florida East Plaza shopping center.

The following Sunday, 21-year-old Abby Burt's body was found at the Fast Lane gas station at the corner of Florida and Marque Ann Drive — 400 feet away from the previous shooting. Police said Burt was shot in the head and her body was hidden next to a shipping container beside the building. 

Two days later, 27-year-old Brittany Williams was found shot to death in a car that crashed off of Stan Avenue. Williams' girlfriend Danielle Bell was arrested in Mississippi for the murder. Family members told police that the pair had been arguing before Williams was killed.

On March 17, 20-year-old Jarvion Johnson was killed in a shooting roughly half a mile away from where Williams was murdered. Police said Johnson's mother found him shot to death in his car that was parked in their driveway. BRPD arrested 19-year-old Tahj Javier Carter on second-degree murder charges but did not disclose the motive.

During a press conference to address a different wave of violence over the city, BRPD Chief T.J. Morse announced that the Mayor's Office approved overtime hours for a select group of officers to start 'proactively policing' areas in the city that are having spikes in crime.

BRPD crime stats said that homicides have nearly doubled compared to the same time in 2023. Morse said officers are seeing patterns of retaliatory and targeted shootings throughout the city. The chief said victims and suspects are tending to be increasingly familiar with one another. 

"Our detectives investigating these events informed me that they're learning of incidents with multiple shooters, close ties between victims and suspects and escalations of disputes and fights," Morse said during the press conference. "The vast majority of shootings have not been random in nature."

BRPD spokesperson Saundra Watts said it is not clear why so many shootings have happened in the condensed area and short time frame. 

"We can't put any logic to this right now, but we can assure the public that our officers are on the ground," Watts said. 

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