Two shootings in the space of 24 hours in East Baton Rouge Parish left one person dead and three others, including an 11-year-old girl, hospitalized.
Two middle-aged men were shot while hanging out on a friend’s porch at 2562 Thomas H. Delpit Drive at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, Baton Rouge police said.
James R. Mims, 42, 5169 Annette St., died from a gunshot wound to the neck. His best friend, identified by his family as Troy Atkins, 37, was still alive Wednesday but was suffering from life-threatening injuries at a hospital, police spokesman Cpl. Tommy Stubbs said.
Police investigated another shooting at 4:40 p.m. Wednesday at 1844 Ryder Drive, near the intersection of Perkins Road and Staring Lane.
A man driving a red Chevrolet Camaro got out of his car and shot his 28-year-old girlfriend as she walked on the sidewalk with her 11-year-old niece, police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said. Police described the suspect as a black man, 6’1” tall and 220 lbs.
The woman suffered at least one life-threatening gunshot wound to her midsection, police said, while a stray bullet hit the girl in the leg.
A witness, whose identity is being withheld because the shooter is still at-large, said he immediately dialed 911 when he heard multiple gunshots and rushed to the window of his business.
Through the window, the witness said, he saw a woman frantically running from a man who was firing a handgun at her. “It sounded like almost a dozen shots,” the witness said.
The witness moved to another room to catch a better view and he saw the woman lying face-down on the concrete as the man sprinted back to his Camaro and fled.
As the shooter sped off, a woman in a pink dress fired shots at his Camaro, screaming, “He shot my sister! He shot my daughter!” said Will Hawkins, 60, a warehouse manager at nearby Southern Livestock Supply Co., who rushed out when he heard the gunfire.
Hawkins said a few people rushed out and helped the child into the backseat of a nearby car to take her to a hospital.
While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Hawkins and other onlookers tried to help by turning the woman over and asking her questions, but she was unconscious, he said.
The victim’s landlord, Gregory Carter, 56, said he was called about two weeks ago to repair the woman’s back door after she said her boyfriend kicked it in and assaulted her.
Carter said he thought the woman had filed a protective restraining order against her boyfriend. Police were not able to confirm late Wednesday that a restraining order had been issued.
Carter pointed to splintered wood in the woman’s front doorway which had been kicked before Wednesday’s shooting.
The landlord opened the door to show what appeared to be signs of a fight — pillows and wall hangings on the floor, a carpet overturned and a sectional couch pulled apart.
The woman lived at the apartment with her son, who is about 10 years old, Carter said.
Across town Wednesday, Erica Bethley said she was still in shock over the shooting outside her Thomas Delpit Drive home late Tuesday that killed one of her friends and left another in critical condition.
“I went inside to watch a movie and all of a sudden I heard gunfire,” said Bethley, who said she had been hanging out with the victims on her front porch. “I hit the floor and started praying.”
When the gunfire stopped, Bethley said, she peeked outside and saw her friends struggling to survive from gunshot wounds.
Police spokesman Stubbs said officers arrived at 11:18 p.m. to find James Mims, 42, dead from a gunshot wound to the neck.
A second man, who was identified as Troy Atkins, 37, was still alive late Tuesday but was suffering from life-threatening injuries and at a local hospital, Stubbs said.
Atkins’ wife, Connie Atkins, said Wednesday morning she had visited her husband in the hospital and that he was breathing on his own and was asking about his best friend, Mims.
“I didn’t have the heart to tell him he was gone,” she said. “I just couldn’t do it.”
Atkins said her husband and Mims had been best friends since high school, when they attended the Louisiana School for the Deaf. The men liked to play dominoes, eat barbecue and “have a good time,” she said.
Bethley said she went to high school with Atkins and Mims, who were both deaf, and never thought their visit on Tuesday would end in violence.
“I didn’t expect any of that,” she said.
As of late Wednesday, Stubbs said no one had been arrested in the double shooting and no suspects had been named. A motive also had not been determined.
According to statistics compiled by The Advocate, Mims’ killing marks the 60th homicide in East Baton Rouge Parish this year and the fifth slaying since Saturday.
Anyone with information about these crimes can contact police at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.