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Baton Rouge officials held a press conference on the city’s crime crisis Thursday — the day after slain Louisiana State University student Allison “Allie” Rice was buried in front of hundreds of mourners.
“Over the last two weeks it’s very clear that we’ve seen an influx of incidents,” said Mayor Weston Broome, who briefly referenced the murder of Rice as well as other homicides that had occurred in the past two years.
“We can not turn a blind eye to continuous offenses by the same groups of individuals,” she said.
Rice, an LSU senior studying marketing, was gunned down in her SUV Friday morning at about 2:20 a.m. while stopped at a railroad crossing on Government Street.
Lt. Kevin Heinz, commander of the violent crime unit, dismissed reports that Rice may have been targeted by gangs.
“I broke down. She looked so peaceful, and she had a tiny little smirk on her face,” her father, Paul Rice, said of seeing his daughter Wednesday at her open-casket funeral
“There’s a lot of things being looked at that I’m not going to go over right now. I do understand that there was a rumor going around that this was some kind of gang initiation and this was a targeted attack. We have zero indication that that is the case.”
Rice was the latest casualty of the city’s violent crime wave. FBI data from 2019 lists Baton Rouge as having the 6th highest murder rate per capita in the U.S.
Chief Murphy Paul told reporters that the Baton Rouge Police Department is taking these incidents seriously.
“Our police officers are working hard to keep you safe, and we’re going to continue doing that — and we understand the recent incidents are concerning to this community,” he said.
Rice’s shattered father, Paul Rice, said that at least 500 people came to his daughter’s open-casket funeral Wednesday.
It was the first time he’d laid eyes on little girl since her death. “I broke down,” he told Fox News Digital. “She looked so peaceful, and she had a tiny little smirk on her face. You could see that little bit of an Allie smile. You look at her, it’s almost like she’s pretending to be asleep, and you’re waiting for her to open her eyes at any moment.”
He added, “You would never know the child had 10 bullet holes in her.”
The FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting in the investigation, authorities said.
A detective told Rice Thursday morning that they had processed his daughter’s car and they would release it to an impound yard. The driver side window and front window were completely shot out, and there were bullet holes in the door, Rice said.
“Everybody, just please keep coming forward with information if you have it,” he added.