Father gunned down on a smoke break

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The death of a loved one is an anniversary no one ever looks forward to, but it is even worse when that person is taken from you.

Elouise Shannon is living that nightmare after her first born and only son, Walter Sip Jr., was shot and killed.

"It's hard," Shannon said. "Someone asks me how many children you have. I have to say one now."

It is the heartbreaking realization for a mother. Sip was killed in the early morning hours of July 15, 2010 at the King's Court Apartment Complex, which is located just south of Howell Park in north Baton Rouge. Her other child, her daughter, Erica Sip, heard the news as she was driving to her brother's apartment.

"Halfway there, my dad called me," Erica Sip said. "He got there before I did. He told me he was dead."

It turns out Walter Sip Jr. would step out in front of his apartment every morning for a smoke break after getting off work. That was his practice.

Det. John Dauthier with the Baton Rouge Police Department remembers this case well.

"It may well be this was a crime of opportunity or someone may have recognized his pattern because this was routine for him," Dauthier said.

Sip had no criminal history, so people are baffled. What he did have, though, was two young sons back then.

"They still ask about him. They don't really understand," his sister said.

His mother hears the same thing all the time.

"They ask for their dad and we don't know what to tell them," Shannon added.

At some point, it would be nice to tell them that the person who took their daddy away from them has been caught. But that's going to take more than just the police.

It's something else Dauthier knows very well.

"Without the community's cooperation, these crimes are almost impossible to solve in many cases. We want to make a difference, but we need your help," he pleaded.

Those are sentiments shared by a family that is still trying to deal with a massive hole in their lives.

"It's the only way to stop things like this from happening," Erica Sip said.

The victim's mother, speaking with a lot of heart and a lot of love, sees the bigger picture as well.

"If we expect the world to change, we have to step up. We have to make a change. You can start with one person," Shannon added.

Maybe you are that one person. Make that call to Crime Stoppers at 344-7867.

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