Shooting outside community center devoted to non-violence shocks workers

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POSTED: Friday, March 15, 2013 - 4:30pm

UPDATED: Friday, March 15, 2013 - 6:10pm

A shooting that killed one and injured two others happened outside a local community center that’s devoted as a safe place for children. Those who work at the facility hope the community can move past this tragedy and continue to find the center as a place of refuge.

Crime scene tape, even gloves, are still just outside the Butler Community Center on Washington Street.

“It's a little heartbreaking,” Shirley Lolis, Executive Director of Metro Health at the community center, said.

The building, like several other community centers in the city, is meant to help young people with questions and to keep them away from violence.

Lolis said what happened last night, Thursday, March 14, was a big step in the wrong direction, especially for that part of the city. However, it will not stop her or the people inside the center from helping others to avoid following the path that lead to the shooting.

“This is a place where we serve people,” she said. “We are committed to do whatever it takes to help out community become strong.”

The Baton Rouge Police Department is not sure about the motive, nor have they identified a suspect. The two victims who are expected to survive are 47 and 18 years old.

Christopher Fountain, 29, died Friday morning.

“They takin’ it to another level,” Lolis said. “You know and this level is final.”

Lolis believes the role of the Butler Center is more important than ever. So she, along with others who work there, said they're ready to do what they need to do to prevent something like this from happening again.

“We have to do more,” she said. “I don't know what that more is, so we're willing and open to talk about it.”

Earlier this afternoon Metro Council Member Tara Wicker told NBC33 News that the BRAVE program is expanding its presence to the 70802 area code, which is where this crime occurred. Wicker, who has an office inside the community center, hopes this will help prevent violence in the area.

As for the community center, Wicker says she wants everyone to know that the center is still open to those who need help.

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