Rebecca Riley had no reason to be worried Wednesday night when her husband answered the door and agreed to help their neighbor with something at her apartment.
That was normal. Stan Riley often helped the woman with repairs and other chores because she lived alone. He would help anyone, Rebecca Riley said.
About 10 minutes later, gunshots shattered the quiet outside their Tigerland Avenue apartment building and caused Rebecca Riley to jump up from the couch, hoping no one had been hurt. She screamed Stan's name, receiving no response, then ran to the neighboring unit and pushed open the door.
The scene inside confirmed her worst fears: Her husband and neighbor had both been shot multiple times and left to die.
Stan Riley, 37, and Amanda Authement, 34, were later pronounced dead as first responders swarmed the area and Baton Rouge police launched a homicide investigation. The shooting occurred around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 4700 block of Tigerland Avenue, just a short distance from the cluster of Tigerland bars that are popular among LSU students.
Police have released few details about the case. There are no suspects and the motive remains unknown.
Baton Rouge police have released the identities of the two people killed Wednesday night in a double shooting at an apartment complex on Tiger…
Meanwhile Rebecca Riley can't stop thinking about how her life changed in an instant: What if her husband had just stayed home instead?
"They took somebody," she said through tears Thursday afternoon. "They took away a husband, a child, brother and cousin — a good spirit. He was a really good spirit. … But nobody does anything to deserve that. These are human lives."
The couple had been together for almost 20 years and married since 2011, living in Plaquemine for a while before moving to Baton Rouge. They had raised a son together and were in the process of picking themselves up after some recent challenges: She's unemployed and he had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
"We've been through a lot together, and we were supposed to grow old together," Rebecca Riley said, lighting a cigarette and holding back sobs. "Without him, I don't know how to be myself. A piece of me is gone."
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She said the second victim had lived in the apartment complex for some time and acted as its property manager. Authement left behind three young children. Her family said she was also dealing with her share of challenges, including a long battle with drug addiction.
"Amanda was a good person. She would do anything for anyone," said her sister-in-law Samantha LeBlanc. "She loved her kids even though she faced her own struggles."
Authement spent most of her life in Crowley and had married LeBlanc's brother when she was still a teenager. She had been living in Baton Rouge for the past few years, doing her best to stay on track and support her children, LeBlanc said.
At the scene Wednesday night, about a dozen Baton Rouge police officers huddled in groups between two buildings while detectives started their investigation. There was a line out the door at a popular bar down the street, but it was quiet outside the apartment where the shooting occurred.
The building where the victims lived is one of many apartment complexes behind the Tigerland bars. LSU parents and others have long expressed concern about the area having become more dangerous in recent decades, especially as students have gravitated toward newer apartment buildings outside Tigerland, leaving vacancies in the complexes they once filled.
Staff writer Emma Discher contributed to this report.