Woman killed day before birthday in shooting while dropping off friend; funeral arrangements set

Woman killed day before birthday in shooting while dropping off friend; funeral arrangements set
Janessa Hartley (Source: Family friend)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A homicide investigation is underway after a woman was found shot to death Tuesday evening.

The Baton Rouge Police Department identified the victim as Janessa Hartley, 57, of Baton Rouge.

BRPD reported she was discovered on Brookshire Avenue near Havenwood Drive, which is just off Goodwood Boulevard, around 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Detectives said she was found in the driver’s seat of a Honda CRV and died at the scene. Police added she was dropping off a friend in neighborhood, when the shooter tried to open the door of the vehicle, but couldn’t open it. That’s when the shooter opened fire, killing Hartley.

A man who knows the victim told The Advocate newspaper a surveillance camera at the home captured the shooting on video. The man told the newspaper the video shows a person, who appears to be a masked man, walk up to the vehicle and open fire.

He said the two women had just returned from having dinner to celebrate the victim’s birthday, which was January 16.

Baton Rouge Police spokesman, Sgt. Don Coppola, confirmed police are reviewing surveillance camera footage, but declined to say where the video came from or what, if anything it shows.

Detectives are asking citizens with home surveillance footage of any suspicious vehicles/foot traffic in the Brookshire, Havenwood and Woodcliff areas to contact them.

Coppola also said detectives have not yet identified a suspect or established a motive.

Visitation for Hartley will be held at Resthaven on Jefferson Highway on Thursday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Visitation will continue at St. Thomas More on Friday from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

A mass will follow and the burial will be at Resthaven.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.

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