Allison Rice, 21, was found dead inside her vehicle between I-110 and Park Boulevard, the Baton Rouge Police Department told local news station WBRZ. Her car was found riddled with bullets shortly after 2am on Friday.
Authorities believe she was shot multiple times while waiting for a train to pass at a railroad crossing while returning from a gathering with friends, WAFB reported. A motive behind the attack has not been released to the public as law enforcement continues to investigate the incident.
A witness told WBRZ that he heard the train just moments before the shots were fired. It is unclear whether she was targeted or the attack was random.
“[A deadly shooting] is not surprising… someone stole an ice box… so much goes on out here,” Floyd Norman told the outlet. “It [doesn’t] make a difference about a shooting… every other night, somebody is shooting.”
“We got a lot of problems around here… when night fall[s], I try not to leave my house. I’m not trying to be out here at night,” Mr Norman added.
Ms Rice was a marketing major at LSU, and worked as a bartender at The Shed BBQ restaurant. The university issued a statement following her death.
“The LSU community is saddened to hear of senior Allison Rice being killed overnight. Her family and friends are in our thoughts, and we encourage anyone who may have more information about this crime to contact Baton Rouge Police,” the statement read.
Baton Rouge mayor Sharon Weston also addressed the tragedy: “My heart goes out to the family, loved ones, and classmates of Allison Rice, a young LSU student who had her entire life ahead of her.
“This senseless violence is completely unacceptable and Baton Rouge Police officers are thoroughly investigating to bring the perpetrator to justice.”
FBI 2020 data shows that Baton Rouge is one of the cities with the highest homicide rates in Louisiana. According to the World Population Review, the city had a total of 83 homicides in 2019 — a murder rate of 33.5 per 100,000, compared to the national homicide rate of 5 murders per 100,000 people.