Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Out-of-town trucker murdered during Baton Rouge robbery Tuesday

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BATON ROUGE - A crazed man on a mission to kill may have chosen his victim at random in a morning attack at a shopping center Tuesday, witnesses at the scene told WBRZ.

Keith Odom, a 49-year-old trucker from Jonesborough, Tennessee, was shot and killed while repairing his big rig parked in the lot on Florida Boulevard, just east of Sherwood. Police said Odom was held-up and was cooperating when the robber shot him around 8 o'clock in the morning.

Odom's boss was flabbergasted when he learned of the shooting death. He said Odom routinely had hauls taking him to Baton Rouge but Tuesday was the first time he was in this area of the city, where he was scheduled to pick up a load.

At the scene of the shooting in the 12000 block of Florida, witnesses who asked not to be identified by their full name said the gunman was looking for bloodshed in the parking lot. At one point, the gunman said he was going to shoot someone – anyone, a witness told WBRZ.

Another person suspects a nearby drug infested neighborhood as being the cause of violence.

“This area is drug infested. The apartments right across the parking lot are just full of drug activity. Something really needs to be done,” the person said who asked that his name not be used.

Witnesses said they watched paramedics try to save Odom's life.

“I didn't see much of anything else besides him lying on the ground. He wasn't really moving. He wasn't doing anything,” they said.

Even though it appears Odom was the victim of a random attack, some people in the area said violence in Baton Rouge is not unusual. In fact, one person said, it has become customary.

“I've lived here my whole life. I hear about it all the time. This is probably the closest I've been to somebody being murdered. Doesn't change anything, it's just part of it,” they said.

For much of Tuesday, Odom's rig remained in the parking lot where he was shot. Police surveyed the scene and areas around the truck looking for clues.  

Police said there are no suspects in the case. Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at 389-4869.


Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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