Recent attacks in homes leads to more women arming themselves

First-time shooter fires at a target.
First-time shooter fires at a target.
Trainer shows Cassie Porche how to use a gun.
Trainer shows Cassie Porche how to use a gun.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There were four home invasions with sexual assaults in Baton Rouge last week and since then, police said it's been quiet, but many women are refusing to their guards down and arming themselves.

"I don't think I can do this," said one female first-time shooter.

It's that very fear Vincent Leduff wants his friend to overcome.

"I'm trying to aim for the face, but it's not going there," she said.

One lane over, Cassie Porche also received a lesson for her first target practice.

"You have to rack it back, but don't put your finger in the trigger hole until you're ready to shoot," said Porche's trainer.

"We're seeing definitely increased range volume in female shooters," said Wade Duty, co-owner of Precision Firearms.

"I'm 64," said Sue Decoteau. "I am very comfortable getting out of bed and that (her gun) is the first thing that I grab. The lights go on and I'm going to protect myself."

The Baton Rouge Police Department said in all four home invasion and sexual assault cases, the suspect targeted women that were home alone. The victims describe the suspect as 6'0" tall wearing dark clothing, gloves and a mask. In at least three of the four cases, he's believed to have entered the home through an unlocked door or window late at night. It's still unknown, however, if one person or more are responsible for the home invasions.

Since then, BRPD has stepped up patrols. Plus, there's an extra layer of protection late into the night in the sky. While elderly women have been targeted in three of the four cases, women in general are locking and loading.

"I believe that it's important for women to be able to stand up and protect themselves and not rely on others to do it," said Porche.

"Purchases are up by probably 15 percent with first-time women shooters coming in and buying handguns for their own use," Duty added.

"Hopefully, nothing is going to happen to her, knock on wood. You never know. No one thinks it'll ever happen to them," Leduff said.

Along with target practicing, Duty said many more women are doing exactly what Decoteau is at Precision Firearms for.

"I'm signing up for the concealed handgun course," said Decoteau.

The 64-year-old said it's a conversation she's been having with her husband, but the recent home invasions finally made her go in and sign up. She has a gun and said she's no novice, but for those who have never shot before, the class, which is now booking two months in advance, teaches people the basics to a firearm, shooting it and the laws behind it. Duty added before running out and buying a gun, preparation is the key.

"Your mindset and your training is far more important than the firearm. A set of locks that acts as a deterrent gives you time to retrieve the gun from a different part of the house," Duty explained.

Police are going back and re-examining other home invasions prior to the four last week to see if there are any connections. Anyone with information that can help officers is asked to call Crime Stoppers 344-7867.

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