Sleeping toddler killed by stray bullet during overnight shootout in BR neighborhood
BATON ROUGE - A 3-year-old resting in his bed was killed by a stray bullet after a gunfight erupted outside his home late Tuesday night.
Officers swarmed the neighborhood—located on Fairfields Avenue just off North Foster Drive—around 11 p.m., according to the Baton Rouge Police Department. Police taped off a perimeter around the house where the toddler was shot and found what appeared to be shell casings on a sidewalk outside the home.
The innocent victim, identified by police as Devin Page Jr., died while sleeping in his bed.
"You can't help if you had a heart to hear that grandmother crying about that baby," neighbor Hattie Scales said. "She said, 'they killed my baby'."
Scales said gunshots are a sound she has become too familiar with recently in the neighborhood where she's lived for nearly 40 years.
Investigators suspect the gunfire came from a shootout that unfolded in front of the property and that the child's home was not the intended target. Sources told WBRZ the incident Tuesday night may be tied to another shooting that happened recently on N Ardenwood Drive.
The killing also happened next door to the site of another shooting on Fairfields Avenue where police said shots were fired into a home just days earlier. In that shooting, police said a child was hurt by bullet fragments after someone opened fire on a house late Sunday night.
Police have not connected to the two shootings at this time, and they're still working to identify suspects in either incident.
"I hope that something will come out of this where they find out what's going on and shut it down, because we already lost something we can't get back. The life of an innocent baby," Scales said.
Devin's family did not comment, but his mother shared an emotional post on social media, saying she was moving from the area.
The mayor's office released a statement addressing the killing late Wednesday morning.
"The tragic overnight killing of a young child on Fairfields Avenue is a sad reminder that our community has a long way to go in addressing gun violence. This tragedy is beyond unacceptable. Someone in our community knows who is responsible and they must come forward.
At this moment our community needs to refocus. Beginning Good Friday I am calling for a Week of Peace. Week over week community members join together in planning activities of hope, but there is a small percentage that still continue to choose violence.
I implore individuals to settle their disputes with words rather than with violence. The outcomes from choosing violence are never hopeful. Choose hope and choose peace."
A balloon release for Devin is scheduled Saturday for 3 p.m. at 2267 Balis Drive.