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Teen escapee killed in retaliatory shooting along Washington Avenue

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BATON ROUGE - A teenager who escaped from a juvenile detention facility in November was killed Saturday morning in a retaliatory shooting, officials said.  

The Baton Rouge Police Department said now 18-year-old David Atkins was found dead near the corner of Washington Avenue and North 26th Street shortly before noon Saturday. Another person was hurt, but is expected to survive. 

Atkins has been on the run since November 25, when he broke out of the East Baton Rouge Juvenile Detention Center with another teenager. He was 17 at the time of the escape and facing charges for second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

According to court records, Atkins was arrested Aug. 30, 2021 when he was 15 years old. WBRZ reported that a teenager shot two people at a gas station off of LSU's campus just hours after Hurricane Ida slammed the capital area. Police said 28-year-old Gregory Cotton was killed and 22-year-old Kentrell Maloid was hurt and taken to a hospital. 

After his arrest, Atkins was taken to the juvenile detention facility, where he broke out twice. Nov. 15, Atkins broke out with a different teenager. The pair was caught two days later and returned to custody. Sources told WBRZ that the teens were able to escape after moving to a part of the facility where the doors were broken, allowing them to move a piece of machinery and climb through a hole in the wall. They hopped a fence and left. 

On Nov. 16, District Attorney Hillar Moore's office asked a judge to move Atkins from the juvenile facility to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Prosecutors noted that Atkins qualified to "be transferred to the appropriate adult facility for detention prior to his trial as an adult (for murder)." The hearing for that motion was scheduled for late February. 

On Nov. 25, Atkins escaped again. Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said the juveniles got out by forcing open a security door, then climbing on the roof.  

Days after Atkins' second escape, Mayor Broome said Baton Rouge needs a new juvenile detention facility. She said the building is more than 70 years old and was intended to rehabilitate young offenders—not to house those accused of crimes such as murder. 

Officers said Atkins has not been hiding in Baton Rouge, but moving around since his escape. Baton Rouge Police Chief TJ Morse said the shooting was targeted and retaliatory. Morse said officers will increase patrols over the weekend where the shooting happened. 

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