BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — City leaders announce the creation of a funeral expense fund for a child who was fatally shot on Thursday, March 16.
The child was identified as Matthew Fortenberry, 11. Baton Rouge police said the child’s family was held hostage before Fortenberry was shot on Crestway Avenue.
A BRPD spokesperson said the hostage happened after a 17-year-old suspect got into an argument with one of the child’s family members. The suspect then fired shots into a car where Fortenberry and other family members were sitting, police said. Fortenberry died of his injuries in the hospital.
The teenage shooting suspect was charged with first-degree murder, four counts of attempted first-degree murder, false imprisonment with a dangerous weapon and illegal discharge of a firearm.
District Attorney Hillar Moore previously said he plans on charging the 17-year-old as an adult.
The shooting remains under investigation.
A GoFundMe created for Fortenberry’s family reads, “He was a good kid loved by many. He was his mother’s best friend.”
Moore, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and Metropolitan Council member Darryl Hurst announced the fundraiser on Wednesday, March 22 at 2 p.m.
“This is a tragedy that has shaken our community and our hearts go out to Matthew’s family during this difficult time,” said Broome.
The mayor said action must be taken to prevent future tragedies. She calls on Baton Rouge residents to tackle the root causes of violent crime — poverty, lack of opportunity and access to firearms.
Both parents were present for the announcement of the fund. Fortenberry’s father, Michael, remembered his son’s perfect grades and echoed sentiments from Baton Rouge leaders about gun violence in the city.
“We need to put the guns down,” said Michael. “It has to stop.”
Cash or check donations can be made by anyone to the Matthew Fortenberry Funeral Expense Fund, not just clients of b1Bank, a bank representative said. There are eight b1Bank locations in the Greater Baton Rouge area and 50 statewide. Money can be donated online, in person or by calling 1-877-614-7600.