It’s the latest in a rash of violent crimes committed by juvenile suspects.
Friday, the teen appeared before a judge where he was identified as 15-year-old David Westbrook Jr.
“We need to take a look at how we’re handling juvenile cases, because now we’re seeing more violent offenses in juvenile court than we did decades before,” East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said.
As the case plays out in court, authorities tell WBRZ that it isn’t Westbrook’s first brush with the law. The teen has been busted four other times for armed robbery.
“The juvenile system is set up to where you don’t want to detain a child that can be placed back at home with a parent or guardian. The question is, has that parent or guardian been doing the right thing?” Moore said.
Violent juvenile crime is striking a nerve with authorities. Back in May, a pair of 15-year-olds were arrested in Baton Rouge after a triple murder that involved the death of a toddler.
In June, a 17-year-old was linked to the killing of an IHOP employee on College Drive.
Authorities say they’re frustrated with the growing problem.
“We’ve seen a lot of juvenile crime this summer, but throughout COVID we’ve seen an increase of juvenile offenses. Not just juvenile offenses, but serious violent offenses like murder and armed robbery. It’s concerning,” Moore said.
It’s now up to the district attorney to decide whether or not Westbrook will be tried as an adult. He’s in juvenile jail and is being held without bond.
Westbrook’s next detention hearing is set for July 29.