BATON ROUGE — A 3-year-old child who was resting in his bed was killed by a stray bullet after a shooting broke out outside his home Tuesday night.
Officers swarmed the neighborhood — located on Fairfields Avenue just off North Foster Drive — around 11 p.m., according to the Baton Rouge Police Department. Police recorded a perimeter around the house where the toddler was shot and found what appeared to be bullet casings on a pavement outside the house.
The innocent victim, identified by police as Devin Page Jr., died while sleeping in his bed.
“You can’t help if you had the heart to hear that grandma cry about that baby,” neighbor Hattie Scales said. “She said, ‘they killed my baby’.”
Scales said gunshots are a sound she has become all too familiar with recently in the neighborhood where she has lived for nearly 40 years.
Investigators suspect the shots came from a shooting that took place outside the property and the child’s home was not the intended target. Sources told WBRZ that Tuesday night’s incident may be linked to another recent shooting on N Ardenwood Drive.
The killing also happened next to the site of another shooting on Fairfields Avenue, where police said shots were fired into a home days earlier. In that shooting, police say a child was injured by bullet fragments after someone opened fire on a house late Sunday night.
Police have not yet been connected to the two shootings and are still working to identify suspects in either incident.
“Hopefully something will come out of there where they find out what’s going on and stop it, because we’ve already lost something that we can’t get back. An innocent baby’s life,” Scales said.
Devin’s family has not commented, but his mother shared an emotional message on social media, saying she was leaving the area.
The mayor’s office released a statement regarding the murder late Wednesday morning.
“The tragic, nightly murder of a young child on Fairfields Avenue is a sad reminder that our community still has a long way to go in addressing gun violence. This tragedy is beyond unacceptable. Someone in our community knows who is responsible and must come forward.
At this time, our community needs to refocus. From Good Friday, I call for a week of peace. Week after week, community members come together to plan activities of hope, but there is a small percentage that continues to choose violence.
I implore individuals to settle their differences with words rather than violence. The results of choosing violence are never promising. Choose hope and choose peace.”
A balloon release for Devin is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. at 2267 Balis Drive.