BRPD: One killed when teens play with gun

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Marcus Williams, 17, died Saturday night from a gunshot wound that occured when a gun he and a 16 year old were playing with discharged while the two were at this house on 1527 N 24th St., Baton Rouge police said.
Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Marcus Williams, 17, died Saturday night from a gunshot wound that occured when a gun he and a 16 year old were playing with discharged while the two were at this house on 1527 N 24th St., Baton Rouge police said.

A 16-year-old boy turned himself in Sunday to Baton Rouge police detectives in the death Saturday of a 17-year-old Baton Rouge teenager who was shot in the back while the two teens played with a gun, a police spokesman said.

It was the fourth shooting death in the area since Dec. 29 that involved teenagers playing or passing around a gun.

Marcus Williams, 474 Bernardo Drive, was shot Saturday and died later at a hospital, spokesman Cpl. Tommy Stubbs said in a news release.

The shooting occurred while Williams was visiting a house at 1527 N. 24th St., he said.

Police booked the 16-year-old, who was not identified because he is a juvenile, into the East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Detention Center on one count of negligent homicide, Stubbs said.

The incident occurred when Williams and the 16-year-old were playing with a handgun and it discharged, striking Williams in the back, Stubbs said.

Police are not calling the shooting accidental, he said.

“There was criminal negligence,” Stubbs said, adding that if the shooting had been accidental, an arrest would not have been made.

There were others in the house when the shooting occurred, Stubbs said, but he would not identify them because they are witnesses to the shooting.

Officers arrived at the house at about 3 p.m. Saturday — after they were tipped off to the shooting by an anonymous caller — and found Williams wounded, Stubbs said.

The 16-year-old shooter already had left the house with the gun, he said.

Dorothy McClinton, 56, who lives on Cherry Street near 24th Street said violence in the area has increased lately and the community needs to come together and mentor juveniles to stop the violence.

“There’s gonna be a killing before the end of the next week because kids got access to guns,” she said. “They think it’s cute to have guns.”

Williams’ death was the fourth fatal shooting to occur since Dec. 29 in which a gun discharged when teenagers were playing or passing one around: Three occurred in Baton Rouge and one in Prairieville.

Stubbs said the recent rash of shootings is “unexplainable.”

The Police Department continuously tries to educate people about storing guns safely, he said.

“Gun violence is something we’re always worried about,” he said. “Even with education, stuff like this happens. We’ll continue to do what we can to educate the community on the proper way to store their weapons.”

Travin Varise, 2, was shot in the chest Jan. 21 when he walked into the room while his older brother Terrance J. Varise, 18, 5108 Jean St., was playing with a .357-caliber handgun.

He died in a hospital early Tuesday morning.

Varise admitted to detectives “that he was carelessly playing with the gun when it accidentally discharged,” according to court documents.

Varise was booked into Parish Prison on one count each of negligent homicide, cruelty to a juvenile and felon in possession of a firearm.

On Jan. 20, a rifle accidentally discharged, hitting Trevon Wilson, 18, 8639 Forrest Delatte Road, Denham Springs, in the chest while he was at a house on Main Street in Baton Rouge. He later died at a hospital from the wound.

The rifle went off when five to six people in the house were examining it.

As of Sunday, no arrests have been made in Wilson’s shooting, Stubbs said.

On Dec. 29, deputies in Ascension Parish arrested a 14-year-old boy accused of accidentally shooting 13-year-old Christian Crain in the head while playing with a stolen .38 special revolver with Crain and another teenager in the bedroom of a Prairieville trailer.

The 14-year-old was booked into the St. James Parish Youth Detention Center on counts of negligent homicide, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of marijuana and possession of a handgun by a minor.