Suspect in custody for murder of young mother on Gus Young Avenu - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Suspect in custody for murder of young mother on Gus Young Avenue

Erneisha Barnes (Source: Family) Erneisha Barnes (Source: Family)
Donnie Spencer (Source: WAFB) Donnie Spencer (Source: WAFB)
Donnie Spencer (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office) Donnie Spencer (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Ashley Taylor (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office) Ashley Taylor (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)

Police say they now have a suspect in custody in connection with the murder of a 19-year-old mother. According to the Baton Rouge Police Department, Donnie Spencer, 27, was arrested and charged with the death of Erneisha Barnes, 19.

Barnes, who was a mother, was shot on Thursday, October 26 in the 4800 block of Gus Young Avenue near 48th Street. The mother was taken to a local hospital, where she later died.

As he was loaded off to prison, Spencer had nothing to say except to assert his innocence. Spencer is charged with first degree murder and attempted first degree murder after allegedly gunning down Barnes in a drive-by shooting.

His information was put out on Friday and roughly 72 hours later, he was picked up by the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force on Monday. “Some arrests happen quicker than others and with this, we were able to get him positively identified by witnesses,” said Sgt. Don Coppola with BRPD.

Spencer was not the only arrest made. BRPD also arrested Ashley Taylor, 30, after she allegedly shot at a woman the same night in roughly the same spot, just minutes before. That victim was not harmed. “Ashley Taylor turned herself in and was charged with attempted second degree murder and illegal use of a weapon,” said Coppola.

Investigators believe the two crimes are connected. They think Taylor and Spencer knew each other and say the shooting stemmed from an ongoing argument between them and the other victim. While Barnes was killed, they think the target was someone else. “It appears to be the 20-year-old victim that Ashley had initially tried to shoot at but missed,” Coppola added.

Those bullets though, did not miss Barnes, and unfortunately, it's believed she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up as the victim of a fight gone too far.

While Spencer is not saying much about the crime, police say luckily, the public is, which allowed them to button up this case pretty quickly. With so many others this year that remain unsolved, police say the public’s help and willingness to come forward this time likely made the difference.

“It’s a shame that we have lost the lives that we have lost, but we are appreciative of the community stepping forward to help us make such a quick arrest in this case,” said Coppola. 

RELATED: BRPD identifies suspect in murder of 19-year-old woman on Gus Young Ave.

Both Taylor and Spencer are currently being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. 

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