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Southern University Student’s Family Seeks Answers One Month After His Tragic Murder

In January 2024, Ashanti McZeal, a senior at Prairie View A&M says cracking jokes over their college basketball teams and talking about midterms would be some of the last conversations she would share with her cousin, Jayrick Washington, a freshman at Southern University and A&M College.

“This January was his first semester at Southern and he was doing great, although he was a little nervous about midterms,” Ashanti tells us.

On March 23rd, 2024, Washington was killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana just North of I-10 near the Fuqua Street exit in what police say was an unfortunate, road rage incident. Washington passed away just 5 days before his 19th birthday.

“I was truly blessed to have him as a cousin.” — Ashanti McZeal

Washington studied Business Administration at Southern University while working at Walmart in Baker, Louisiana. Many knew Washington as someone who never met a stranger and would help anyone in need. His grandmother says he was the “epitome of the perfect grandson that any grandma would want to share their life with.”

As Ashanti discusses his excitement about going to college, his impact on his loved ones becomes clear.

“He was so excited to go to school. He was like Ashanti: I’m gonna start school. We gonna be at school together because I attend Prairie View A&M University. So I was like I finally have a cousin with me here at another HBCU.”

JHS Art Teacher Danielle Foreman said he was the kind of student you can’t forget.

“He never met a stranger,” Foreman said. “I would frequently see him at Walmart when I would go in to buy groceries…we always had long conversations and everybody just loved Jayrick and he was always outgoing and fun.”


Jayrick Washington also known as Jay was an 18 year old who life was tragically cut short 5 days before his 19th birthday which was March 28th,due to unnecessary and selfish act of violence. Jayrick was shot and killed on March 23, 2024 at 12:48pm in Baton Rouge Louisiana. The story first came out to be road rage but during investigation it is believed to be mistaken identity. Jayrick was a 2023 graduate of Jennings High School. Jay recently moved to Baton Rouge in January to attend Southern University for Business Administration while also working at Walmart in Baker,La where he was actually was headed when he was gunned down on North I-110 near the Fuqua Street exit ramp in Baton Rouge. Jayrick was a hardworking, loving and caring person no matter where he was or who he was around. His family and friends say Jay had a contagious smile and a personality that could light up any room with just his presence. He would give the shirt off his back to a stranger and would turn anyone’s bad day into a great one with just his encouraging words. Jayrick didn’t deserve what happened to him and his parents, Jeanette Soularie and Desirick Washington along with family members deserve justice for their baby boy. His siblings say this happened in broad daylight someone had to have seen what happen please whatever you may have seen or heard please speak up so justice is served for our loving brother. As his family we ask that you get this story out and let the world and his killer know what a phenomenal and courageous person Jayrick was while the case is still open and under investigation. As you can see numerous people came out to help celebrate Jayrick’s home going and that alone shows the impact he had on everyone’s life. #justiceforjayrickwashington #jayrickwashington #foreverJay #batonrougelouisiana #jenningslouisiana @Forever.Jayrick @deaanneighh🤍 @Jayrick Washington @user3856512109061 #bakerlouisiana

♬ original sound – RanDanae Levi

Washington was heading to work at Walmart when he was tragically killed.

Baton Rouge police said Washington is among 26 murders and 30 separate shootings so far this year, — a level they call “absolutely unacceptable.” While the investigation is still underway, Washington’s family believes that Jayrick’s death was the result of mistaken identity. One month later, his family is seeking answers regarding his tragic death.

The gunman who shot and killed Washington remains unidentified.

Ashanti tells us that the family hopes his story prompts someone to speak about what happened to him and bring his killer to justice.

“On behalf of me and my family we honestly hope somebody comes out to speak and if you’ve seen anything, go to the Baton Rouge Police Department and help us get the person that killed my cousin. because again, he was a good person and didn’t deserve this at all.”

Washington’s family said they won’t stop until justice is served and are calling on the community for support and advocating for justice, as they cope with their loss. In a statement provided to HBCU Buzz, his siblings also pleaded with the community to help bring accountability for Jayrick’s tragic death.

“Jayrick Ja’voy Washington was the most loving son, grandson, brother, and uncle anybody could have asked for! Unfortunately, he was taken from us just 5 days before his 19th birthday. His life was tragically cut short when he was shot and killed on his way to work by someone who didn’t even know how innocent and loving he was. Jayrick’s case is still under investigation but is believed to be a mistaken identity. As his family, we demand justice and hope that his killer is caught and made to understand the extent of the pain they have caused us.”

Southern University and A&M College also released the following statement to HBCU Buzz on Jayrick’s passing:

“Southern University continues to keep the family and other loved ones of Jayrick Washington in our thoughts. As a SUSLA Connect student, he was enrolled at Southern University Shreveport, our two-year institution, and attended classes at Southern University and A&M College in pursuit of his bachelor’s degree in business management. Students affected by Jayrick’s tragic death are encouraged to reach out to the University Counseling Center, which provides on-campus and virtual appointments, along with several community resources.” 

Baton Rouge Police is investigating the homicide. So far a suspect has not been identified, and BRPD has not released any details on the other vehicle involved.

Anyone with information regarding Washington’s death is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.

We continue to keep Jayrick’s family in our thoughts and prayers during this time.

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