ST. MARTINVILLE — Bianca Davis graduated from a Texas college in May and returned home to Louisiana, where the 23-year-old from Cecilia combined her passion for education, sports and children in her first job after college: directing the Breaux Bridge Youth Sports Camp.
“The camp was in need of revamping. So I asked a couple of people to help me, and they brought Bianca to me,” Breaux Bridge Mayor Ricky Calais said Tuesday, recalling his first encounter with the vivacious young woman who wore orange rubber bands on her braces. “She just had some fire and some passion, and she had a great smile. She won me over.”
Within 10 days of Davis earning the opportunity to lead the camp, she helped increase enrollment from about 80 children to 238.
“She was pretty amazing to watch,” Calais said of the lifelong basketball player. “She would get down with them in camp. She would revert back to that tomboy that she had in her when she was growing up.”
But Breaux Bridge Elementary School — where the monthlong, five-day-a-week camp is held — was quiet on Monday, closed because a stray bullet killed Davis shortly after midnight Saturday as she chaperoned three teenagers away from a private dance in St. Martinville that had turned violent.
A fight broke out at the party held at The Casino Lounge on Main Highway, and after officers on the scene sprayed mace into the crowd, “the first shots rang out,” St. Martinville Police Chief Calder Hebert said.
Daijuan Stewart — a 21-year-old from Baldwin who was DJing the party that night — was shot in the abdomen. That’s when Davis ran toward her car and signaled to her teen cousins to join her so they could leave, Davis’ 39-year-old sister, Darnel Wiltz, said Monday at her Dernier Street home.
Wiltz lives a block away from the lounge and attended the party with her own children and Davis.
“She kept saying she wasn’t staying around here. I kept telling her to wait until it calmed down,” Wiltz said.
As Davis drove away with the three teens in the car, Wiltz heard 10 to 12 shots.
“It looked like fireworks everywhere,” Wiltz recalled.
Then she got the call. Davis had been shot.
It was 12:27 a.m. when Wiltz made it to the car and cradled her younger sister in her arms. A bullet had penetrated the rear passenger window of Davis’ car, grazing her 14-year-old cousin’s arm before wounding Davis behind her right ear and lodging behind her left eye.
She still had a pulse.
“I kept telling her, ‘Hold on, B. Hold on. You’re a fighter,’ ” Wiltz said, tears streaming down her face. But medics didn’t arrive in time to save her.
Police on Sunday arrested 18-year-old twin brothers Jakil and Jamir Sophus, of New Iberia, in the shooting.
Jamir Sophus, booked on a count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder, is accused of firing the shot that killed Davis and injured her teenaged cousin, Hebert said.
Jakil Sophus, booked on a count of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated second-degree battery, is accused of firing the shots that injured Daijuan Stewart, Hebert said.
“Through several witness interviews, that’s what the evidence points to,” Hebert said.
As Stewart and the 14-year-old recover in area hospitals, funeral arrangements are pending for Davis.
The youth sports camp was scheduled to reopen Tuesday with St. Martin Parish School System counselors on site, “to make sure (the children are) capable of dealing with this — especially some of the other ones who had gotten to be very close to her,” Calais said.
“She was amazing,” the mayor added. “Her vision, her passion. Wanting to give back to kids because of the opportunities she had when she was growing up. I knew her for five, maybe six weeks, and it was as though I had known her all my life. Every time she’d see me, she’d hug me. So of course, I’d hug her back.”
Davis was a point guard for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball team from 2010-2012. She finished her degree in education at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where she helped the Lady Wildcats make their first appearance at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Women’s Basketball Championship.
“Basketball was her life,” Wiltz said of her sister. “And she touched the lives of everybody she came in contact with, especially children.”
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825