A homeowner on Tecumseh Street shot and killed a 51-year-old neighbor Saturday night after an argument between the two escalated and, the shooter claimed, the victim swung a cane at him, Baton Rouge police said.
Gary Andrus, 51, 2567 Osceola St., died at the corner of Tecumseh and Seneca streets after being shot once in the head by the owner of a home at 2602 Tecumseh St., police Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office pronounced Andrus dead about 7:50 p.m.
Police have not arrested the neighbor who shot Andrus. McKneely said he could not release the neighbor’s identity because he was not considered a suspect on Sunday, though that could change as the investigation continues.
“We can’t say he was the aggressor; we can’t say he was the victim,” McKneely said, adding that the only information detectives have is the neighbor’s statement. No witnesses had come forward on Sunday.
The neighbor told police his gun fired accidentally; however, police are unsure why the homeowner pulled out the gun, McKneely said.
The homeowner was armed with a handgun while Andrus had no weapon at the time of the shooting, McKneely said. However, McKneely did say Andrus had a cane, which Andrus’ friends said he used to help him walk.
Police were unsure if there were any prior incidents between the two that may have led to the shooting, McKneely said.
Andrus had been diagnosed with cancer several years ago, his cousin, Courtney Jennings, said Sunday afternoon, and his health had been declining.
Jennings said her cousin was very smart and had two grown children, daughter Mallori, who was married, and son Brock. She said Andrus lived in Baton Rouge for about seven or eight years.
Andrus had been staying at the Hall of Faith Church outreach center on Osceola Street for two to three years and friends at the center were angry Sunday that police did not arrest the neighbor.
“I think justice should be done, something needs to be done about this,” said Wayne Reed, who volunteers at the center and cooks meals for the needy. “It’s ridiculous to see somebody do that to an older person.”
Reed’s mother, Faye Reed, said Andrus liked to walk around the neighborhood and sell flowers at the Hall of Faith Church and at a nearby gas station.
“A lot of people really liked Gary,” she said. “He was a good person.”
Faye Reed said Andrus’ cancer and the failure of his internal organs left him weak.
Sunday morning, Andrus’ friend, Wilburt “Pop” Gobert, 72, a former Marine, walked over to the Tecumseh Street address to ask the homeowner what happened. Gobert said the homeowner did not answer him and walked away.
Dr. Beau Clark, the parish coroner, said Andrus’ autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning.
McKneely said police are looking for witnesses to the shooting.
Anyone with information may contact the Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 389-7867.