“As a community, we must work collaboratively to prevent further tragedies by speaking out before it is too late,” Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said.
More than 100 people gathered in Baton Rouge on Wednesday night to celebrate the life of 18-month-old Ja’tyri (JT) Brown who was fatally shot at a pool party on Memorial Day.
Authorities are searching for several suspects connected to the shooting, with two teen brothers allegedly responsible for the killing that also claimed the lives of Dwayne Dunn, Jr., 17, and Reginald Thomas, 20, PEOPLE reports. The two males were shot by the two suspects following a fight at the party. Brown was hit by a stray bullet and died in her father’s arms. She would have turned 2 in August.
Brown’s family and supporters from the community gathered outside the Fairway View Apartments on College Drive where she lost her life and paid tribute to the toddler with a balloon release on June 9, WBRZ reports.
“We will not let them forget Ja’tyri Brown’s name. In other states there are other kids getting murdered just like my grandbaby,” said her grandmother Hope Provost.
The family has made clear that they have no connection to the shooting suspects or the other victims. They are relieved that police have arrested three individuals connected to the killings while three more reportedly remain at large.
“That gives us a little relief, that they are off the street that they can’t do it to anyone else, but on the same token that’s their job we need to expect them to do their job,” said JT’s grandfather George Provost.
The killers reportedly left the state of Louisiana after the shootings, according to police.
Baton Rouge Police have arrested a 15-year-old suspect, two adults, and Latoya Coleman
Coleman is accused of helping 19-year-old David Williams and a 15-year juvenile escape to Texas. After allegedly admitting to aiding the teen suspects in evading capture, Coleman was charged with two counts as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. Her bond is set at $160,000.
Darrell Edwards, 15, has also been arrested. Both he and Williams are facing three counts of first-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon. Christopher Stovall, 23, was arrested and charged as a principal to three counts of first-degree murder. Coleman is accused of helping him hide out in Texas.
Police allege Stovall and Edwards knew the shooting was going to go down in advance and assisted Williams and his brother with their getaway after the killings.
Surveillance footage from the pool party shows the gunmen fleeing the apartment complex after the shooting. Anonymous Crime Stoppers tips reportedly led investigators to Williams and Edwards.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said six people are facing charges, with more arrests in the works.
“My wife, we’re grieving … my son is distraught,” George Provost said of JT’s death. “My whole family is torn apart.”
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said in a statement that “This shooting resulted in the death of an innocent bystander who was only one-year-old. My sincerest condolences continue to be with the family and their loved ones. As a community, we must work collaboratively to prevent further tragedies by speaking out before it is too late.”
“Again, I want to thank our residents who provided the valuable information which allowed our officers to make an arrest. My hope is that as we move forward, this partnership will continue to allow us to not only solve crimes, but to prevent them,” the statement continued.
Broome added, “Just as the community helped in this case, we look to our residents to also help prevent future violence by reaching out to law enforcement before it occurs.”
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