Coroner's office shows teens victims of violence

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POSTED: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 9:51pm

UPDATED: Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 12:45pm

As a death investigator with the East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office, Nick Washington gets a close look at all of the victim's of violence. He says some things you can never get used to.

"Working in the coroner's office we see all of the murders in Baton Rouge," Washington said. "And the common denominator in all is young black men."

Washington grew up in Baton Rouge, and now is trying to help young people in the City who may be on the verge of going the wrong route. He started the juvenile uplifting and mentoring program to try to keep teens out of the morgue.

"This is the last resort," Washington said. "We do show kids that this is where you'll end up if you go that route."

Washington's program involves tutoring and other life skills for youngsters, as well as the up-close look at death only found in a morgue. It has the full support of Coroner Shannon Cooper.

"The anti-crime effort is larger than police," said Don Moreau, chief of operations at the Coroner's office. "Takes an effort from all citizens."

Washington says images of autopsies being performed have a sobering, and lasting impact on children.

"Nobody wants to talk about death," Washington said. "So when the reality of death comes, and you bring a child in here, they see someone their age."

Homicides for 2011 are outpacing last years total. Washington hopes the shock value will provide a lasting affect.

"Something has to be done to break the cycle of violence in East Baton Rouge Parish," Moreau said.

The program is on a voluntary basis.  Click here for more information on how to get involved.

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