BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The shooting death of a woman along Gus Young Avenue has brought Baton Rouge's annual number of murders to a record high.
The woman's death Thursday night marked the city's 76th murder so far this year, surpassing the previous record set in 2009 when there were 75 murders for the entire year. With two full months left to go in 2017, the number could grow even higher.
Baton Rouge Police Department Sgt. L'Jean McKneely confirmed the astonishing figure, saying it's based on all years since accurate records starting being kept in 1985.
McKneely says by his estimate, roughly 95 percent of the murders in Baton Rouge this year involved people who knew one another. "A lot of the shootings are isolated incidents where one person is connected to the other," McKneely said. "We don't have a lot of random incidents that occur. That's not to say they don't happen, they do, but they don't happen as often as people think."
In Thursday night's murder, the victim was involved in a fight in the parking lot of Ragusa Market. Shortly after the fight was broken up, multiple shots were fired from a passing vehicle, killing 19-year-old Erneisha Barnes. Police have not yet made any arrests in the case.
McKneely urges people not to settle their disputes with guns. "Using guns is an end-all," he said. "That's the end of the story and there's no coming back from that."