It didn’t take long for a makeshift memorial to appear for yet another Baton Rouge slaying.
By Monday afternoon, balloons were fluttering over flowers and a teddy bear. They were placed near the blood-stained patch of pavement at the intersection of Woodcock Street and Avenue H where, shortly after 2 a.m., Baton Rouge police found 24-year-old Gerald “Bubba” Penny suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
Penny, who’d been living two blocks from the scene of the shooting, died of his wounds at a hospital later Monday morning, Baton Rouge police spokesman Cpl. Don Coppola said. As of Monday night, no suspects had been identified, Coppola said, and police are still working to determine what might have motivated the shooting.
Residents of the north Baton Rouge neighborhood said they were awakened shortly after 2 a.m. to the sound of gunfire — first one shot, then a number of shots in quick succession.
One longtime resident who declined to give her name said the slaying was the first she could remember on the block but that “back here, you hear shots quite a bit.”
Family members remembered Penny as a quiet, well-liked young man who largely kept to himself and rarely caused trouble, even as a child.
“A lot of people loved him,” Penny’s father, Gerald Coleman, said Monday.
Coleman said his son “had a good heart” and said he was still in shock over the death.
“That’s just twisted right there,” Coleman added. “Somebody needs to come forward.”
Chiquita George, Penny’s godmother, said she’d eaten with him before heading to work Sunday evening and that he’d been in good spirits.
“He didn’t cause anyone trouble,” George said. “He stayed to himself.”
After getting off work Monday morning, George said, she’d stopped by the Avenue H home where Penny had been staying for the last two weeks to ask who’d been killed. Only then, George said, did she learn Penny was dead.
“I had took him in like my adopted son,” George said of Penny.
His father said Penny most recently had worked at Wal-Mart.
“It’s heartbreaking,” George said. “I just went to work yesterday and he was the last person I’d seen at the house before I went to work. To come home this morning to find out he was dead — that’s a pill to swallow.”
Coppola asks anyone with any information about the incident to contact the Baton Rouge Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.