BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — It was a tragic weekend for Istrouma High School. That's after two students were killed in two separate shootings. Now, people living in their neighborhood say there have been too many young people murdered in their community.
Melinda Smart remembers the last time she saw her younger cousin, Darren. "He always walked my boys and his other little cousins to football practice, so I just see him riding on his bike," she says. "He'd always say hey Skinny T. He called me T."
Now, she's left with only a memory. "Darren was very quiet," she says. "You couldn't really get him to say too much. The most thing he'll do is just say hey, and smile."
Darren Smart, 18, was gunned down on Bradley Street Thursday night. According to police, he was shot by two men on bicycles while hanging out with friends. Smart was killed while trying to run from the gunshots.
"Its still really hard to believe because he's not that child," Melinda says. "He's not no type of child to be in the streets or even to do no wrong. For that to happen to a child like that, its just wrong."
Melinda says she doesn't even think Darren knew the men who allegedly shot him. "Wrong place at the wrong time," she says. "Just hanging with his friends."
Darren's death was followed by another, just days later. Darrion LeBeuf was found dead from a gunshot wound inside a vacant house on Delaware Street Saturday night. "Its just too much. Something needs to done. They just keep getting younger and younger," Melinda says.
She says she hears about murders, like these, all the time. "It happens a lot, all thes youngsters getting killed for no reason."
Now, she hopes something can be done to stop the killings, so young people, like her cousin, can grow up safe.
"These kids are just too young. Their lives haven't even begun," she says.
Police are still investigating both crimes. If you know anything about either shooting, please call CrimeStoppers at 344-STOP.