Officials identify couple killed in apparent domestic murder-suicide

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A woman was shot and killed in front of her children Thursday night, before the suspect, the children's father, turned the gun on himself, according to East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.

The Baton Rouge Police Department reported Shanta Matthews, 33, was shot and killed by her boyfriend, Zachary Washington, 31.

Photos posted on Washington and Matthews' social media pages depict a fun-loving couple that enjoyed Mardi Gras balls, parties, and family gatherings. Looking at their life online, no one would ever suspect what police say happened inside their apartment at Ardendale Oaks Thursday night.

It happened on Lobdell Boulevard near Choctaw Drive just before 11 p.m.

Investigators say the two were arguing just prior to the shooting, which happened while their two children were in the apartment. A family member showed up to find the couple dead and the two young daughters crying. BRPD officials say the two girls were not injured.

Moore says police were initially called out prior to the shooting to investigate a domestic incident.

"Everyone is trying to figure out what happened and what led to this act of violence," said Sgt. L'Jean McKneely, spokesperson with BRPD.

McKneely says the couple had recently moved to Baton Rouge from Natchez, Mississippi. According to police there, and in Baton Rouge, neither had a criminal record or had ever reported any type of domestic situation. It's why it's so hard for officials to understand what happened. "It not only affects young children, but both families are affected, his family, her family, friends," McKneely said.

Detectives say they're hoping family members and close friends might be able to fill in the blanks in the couple's story that otherwise appeared picture perfect.

Police say the couple's children are safe and staying with relatives. The shooting remains under investigation.

According to the DA's office, there were four domestic murder-suicides in East Baton Rouge Parish in 2017. This is the first of 2018.

There is a statewide confidential hotline for anyone in a domestic violence situation, provided by the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The phone number to call is 1-888-411-1333.

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