The 54-year-old caretaker raised her arms over her face and begged not to be shot again.
But Darrow Davis — who police said would later turn the gun on himself — was insistent, a neighbor recalled. “I’m going to kill you,” he said, looming over Sheila Martin, who sat in a metal chair outside St. Theresa’s Apartments. He aimed the gun for a second time.
Then Davis said, “Stay out of my business,” and shot Martin at least once more, the neighbor, Izola Isbell, said hours after the woman was wounded.
As Baton Rouge police on Wednesday afternoon raced to the gated cluster of two-story apartments at 3620 Winbourne Ave., Martin, still conscious and bleeding through her blue shirt and jeans, managed to leap from the chair and run.
Davis chased her with gun in hand, several building residents recalled. But Davis eventually stopped his pursuit, they said.
Eventually, he pointed the gun at himself and pulled the trigger, police said. He died at the scene, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman.
Martin, meanwhile, ran a loop around the complex’s housing units. She made it back to her mother’s apartment and collapsed on the floor, said her mother, Catherine Martin.
Sheila Martin has spent her days taking care of her mother after she underwent knee surgery two months ago. Residents of the quiet and tight-knit community said they knew her well, looking on in horror as the bleeding woman fled from Davis around 12:30 p.m.
An ambulance took her to a hospital, where she was in stable condition Wednesday night, McKneely said.
Residents were shocked that anyone would target Martin, an unofficial neighborhood caretaker. She has washed clothes, cooked and run errands for free, Catherine Martin said. Her daughter also works seven days a week as a home health care worker, taking care of an elderly woman in the apartment complex. On holidays, Martin loves decorating and putting Christmas lights around her mother’s door.
“From the time she got up in the morning ‘til the time he went to bed, she’s always doing something,” Catherine Martin said.
Davis, 56, had moved into his apartment about four months ago, and when he first arrived, he had taken an interest in her daughter, Catherine Martin said. The feelings were not reciprocated and Martin’s mother said she thought the two had barely spoken since he first moved in.
Residents also said the day of the shooting began normally. Around 10 a.m. Davis and his next-door neighbor William Mullins, 78, sat in lawn chairs and drank coffee on the second-floor walkway, neighbors said, adding that the two drank coffee together most mornings.
According to Mullins, Davis, who lived alone, biked to a local CVS and picked up a half-pint of whiskey for Mullins.
The residents of St. Theresa’s Apartments are so close that Catherine Martin said “if they don’t see me for a day, they knock on my door.”
“I’m shocked,” Catherine Martin said of the shooting. “It’s stuff that don’t happen in here.”