FIRST ON FOX – The father of deceased Louisiana State University student Allie Rice, who was shot to death in September 2022 while driving home from a friend’s house, says “something’s got to change” in Baton Rouge after another LSU student, Madison Brooks, was allegedly assaulted and killed on Jan. 15.
“Something’s got to change in the culture, in the minds,” Paul Rice, Allie’s father, told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “…We can’t put it all on the police. Police aren’t the ones committing the crimes here. It’s going to take community effort. It’s going to take all of us to get involved and say enough is enough.”
Authorities have not named any suspects in 21-year-old Rice’s shooting death due to a lack of evidence, including security footage, in her case.
Four people have been charged after Brooks, 19, was allegedly raped before she got out of the suspects’ car and was fatally struck by another vehicle, according to East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputies.
Kaivon Deondre Washington, 18, and a 17-year-old unidentified minor were charged with third-degree rape. Washington’s uncle Everett Lee, 28, and Casen Carver, 18, were charged with principal to third-degree rape, meaning they were present during the alleged crime but did not participate.
Brooks had left Reggie’s bar while heavily intoxicated with the men on the evening of Jan. 15 and got in their vehicle, where two of them allegedly assaulted her.
“It’s got to be a wake-up call to these students here that you may think you’re safe going somewhere that you go to all the time, but you don’t know who is waiting to attack you and waiting to prey on you,” Rice said. “You [have] got to be aware of your surroundings, and you [have] got to have protection with you whether it’s another person or a concealed and carry or something. It’s really gotten out of hand.”
Rice said he is “terribly sorry” for the Brooks’ family’s loss and “what their daughter has gone through.”
“I’m not going to have to imagine their pain, I know what their pain is, we’re going through it as well,” he said. “We send our children off to college to become young adults and learn responsibility and start building their futures, and then it’s completely stolen from us. I feel their pain and if any of them ever want to talk, I’m available to them.”
Rice added that parents “should definitely have the ability to send our children to college and feel that they’re safe and feel as though the community around them is going to protect them.”
While Allie Rice and Brooks were both killed off campus, Paul Rice believes school staff, parents and students should be “afforded” the knowledge, training and tools to protect themselves in high-crime areas.
Just this past weekend, 12 people were wounded in a mass shooting at the Dior Bar & Lounge in Baton Rouge.. Police are still searching for the suspect or suspects involved. In October of last year, 11 victims were injured in a shooting at a fraternity house just off the Southern University campus in Baton Rouge.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m ready to blow the top off this town [even] if it means getting some negative national publicity to open some people’s eyes,” he said.
Rice has taken personal action to make Baton Rouge a safer place after a local businessman approached his family and the family of Devin Page — a 3-year-old boy who was killed by a stray bullet in April 2022 — about a plan to increase the number of high-security cameras throughout Louisiana’s second-largest city called the “Page/Rice Camera Initiative.”
The two families have so far received enough donations, including funds from local McDonald’s and Exxon locations, to put up two cameras — one near the location where Allie was killed and another near the location where Devin was fatally shot in his sleep.
“These are very high-quality cameras,” Rice said. “They can do 360 degrees. They’re capable of holding license plates and detecting motion. You’ll actually be able to zoom it. Like if they see somebody walking in the area, they can zoom in close to that to get a pretty clear picture — very high resolution. These would be good things to have — both as a deterrent and for … detectives working on these cases.”
Tuition at LSU costs around $12,000 for in-state students and nearly $29,000 for out-of-state students. Housing and meal plan costs for the 2021-2022 school year were about $12,810.
“[Brooks] should not have been taken from us in this way,” LSU President William F. Tate IV wrote of the 19-year-old sophomore in a recent statement. “What happened to her was evil, and our legal system will parcel out justice.”