BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Last year, the number of homicides in the capital region was more than 130. District Attorney Hillar Moore says 54% of the homicides were solved and the other 46% of cases remain open. Among those cases are three lives lost to gun violence.
Martin Luther King Jr. weekend was supposed to be a time of peace and celebration. Gun violence claimed four lives over the three-day weekend last year, including Rhonda Wilson’s son, Percy Deone Wilson, 38.
“Normally I would go to Percy’s house for the holidays,” said Rhonda. “It’s hard. It was really really hard. It wasn’t the same.”
Rhonda said Percy was found dead on I-110 going south in his car, leaving behind his 10-year-old daughter.
“I hate the fact that Payton has to grow up without her daddy,” said Rhonda. “It’s not fair.”
More than a year later, she is still seeking closure.
“I’ve been calling detectives every week. Seeing if they revealed anything. And I keep getting the same answer. No, haven’t heard really anything. Nobody has come forward,” said Rhonda.
But she is not alone, just a few months later a mother and a grandmother were put in the same position. April 12, 2022, is a day that Cathy Toliver will never forget. Her grandson Devin Page Jr., 3, was killed by a stray bullet while he was sleeping.
“I’m hurt. I’m very, you know, I’m, I’m very, very, um, in a, in a place of disbelief that this even happened,” said Toliver.
According to his mother, Devin was known for making people smile. His grandmother says she leans on faith to get through the pain.
“If it hadn’t been for God, I, you know, it would be totally different. My reaction would be totally different. God has given me a calmness in the midst of all of this,” said Toliver.
Ten months later, they are still waiting for a lead, a suspect and an arrest.
“I’ve personally been talking with Chief Murphy Paul. And in talking to him, he has given me some reassurance that they are working on my grandson’s case,” said Toliver.
Not too far from where Devin lost his life, another family lost their daughter just 2 miles away, exactly five months later.
“Police detectives were trying to explain what had happened and it wasn’t really sinking in. You know, so, I asked the question, is Allie okay? And the police detective’s response back was, ‘No, sir,'” said Paul Rice, father of Allison Rice, 21.
Paul said he still remembers the day vividly. The hardest day of his life.
“This child was loaded with personality, just the kind of person that would energize our family events,” he said.
Allison was shot and killed in her car by the train tracks on Government Street. A pain that no family should have to bear.
“I notice that we’re all different and we’ve all changed,” said Kay Rice, Allison’s stepmother. “So there’s like a light that went out in the house that won’t come back on.”
All three families are still waiting for justice. They said they’re using their pain to bring awareness to the crime in Baton Rouge.
“Our foundation that we’re starting is actually made a donation to sponsor two cameras,” said Paul. “One’s going to go in the area where Allie’s murder occurred, the other in the vicinity of Devin Page’s murder.”
Their only wish is for those involved to be prosecuted.
“I’m just pleading with anybody who knows anything,” said Rhonda.
“We know that somebody knows who drove by and shot the guns that killed Devin Page through his bedroom window,” said Paul. “We know that so many of these crimes that have been committed in the last year, somebody knows.