BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — East Baton Rouge has broken the record for domestic violence-related deaths with a current count of 28 deaths in comparison to last year’s 19 deaths.
Baton Rouge Police Officer George Perkins said there are no common characteristics in these cases.
“They’re younger, they’re older, there’s not really a specific age or race,” said Perkins.
On Tuesday, deputies reported Kenyon Walker shot his live-in girlfriend, 19-year-old Shayla James. She said she was unhappy with their relationship and planned on leaving, according to authorities.
District Attorney Hillar Moore said he is seeing these cases too often and it’s something his office has been working on with their Stop The Loss program.
“You know domestic violence is preventable, homicides are preventable. What we’re trying to do as cases come in, now over the last several months we’ve given them a level of A-D. What is your level? ‘A’ being the highest most violent person [and] that their next encounter could be deadly,” said Moore.
Moore said they expected an uptick in domestic violence numbers because of the pandemic — but not this high.
“Twenty percent of our murders are domestic violence-related, which is a significant number,” said Moore.
Perkins said the Stop The Loss program will hopefully help offenders before it results in homicide.
“When they enter into it the first thing we want to do is get them the help that they need so they don’t advance to that higher level,” said Perkins.
As numbers continue to climb, Moore is asking for the community and more victims to speak up.
“Domestic violence is surely underreported, it’s a huge issue, it’s a family issue, it’s a community issue, and it’s one that we really need to tackle,” said Moore.
Walker is now facing second-degree murder and domestic battery charges. He is being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison with a bond set at $250,000.