BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The District Attorney's Office and the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination Program (BRAVE) hosted a community picnic Saturday afternoon aimed at curbing violence in Baton Rouge.
Carolyn Carter shared her story at the event almost two years after her 24-year-old son Emmanuelle Myles was shot and killed on LeMargie Street. She said he was an innocent bystander struck by a stray bullet from a street fight outside his home.
"He's gone and each time that realization hits my heart it's devastating," Carter said. "It impacted my life a lot. It changed who I was and it took a lot from me."
Her son's death did not take her voice. She is now using it in hopes that her personal tragedy will resonate with others.
"I'm hoping that my words would impact someone and have the community come together in reference to all of the violence here in Baton Rouge," she added.
With live music and free food, event organizer Kirsten Raby said the third annual picnic is an opportunity to deliver the message of ending violence in a fun way. She said the goal is to get the entire community on board.
"Without the help of the community we can't end anything," Raby said. "We need everybody to be on the same page with wanting to prevent violence and wanting to make sure our youth grow up in a better environment."
There have been 19 homicides so far this year, of which 12 are classified as murders and five are negligent homicides.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said current numbers are right on pace with this time last year.
"In my opinion we're having a good year this year and we want to continue on that path," Moore said. "We know that the summer's coming. We hope that we can occupy our youth so they don't resort to guns and violence."
Moore said reaching youth is critical and one of the biggest tools in preventing future crimes.
"If we wait until someone commits a crime and they become an adult then we're not doing our job and it's too late," he added. "We really have
to get the children at an early age. Parents and their family have to raise them with respect and how to be treated and have respect for themselves."