19-year-old Lashuntae Benton (left), and 19-year-old Annette January (right). (Facebook photos)
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Two women who were Southern University students and members of the school’s athletic program were shot and killed early Sunday outside a Baton Rouge apartment complex, police and university officials said.
Detectives didn’t immediately identify any suspects or motives in the shooting, which occurred in a parking lot outside an apartment complex around 2 a.m., said Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola Jr.
A mother of one of the slain students said police told her that her daughter, 19-year-old Lashuntae Benton, of Lake Charles, wasn’t an intended target of the shooting. Theresa Tillman said her daughter was living in a dormitory on Southern’s campus and apparently was attending a party at the apartment complex where the shooting occurred.
“My baby was a very vibrant child, a beautiful child with a beautiful heart,” Tillman said during a telephone interview. “Everybody loved her.”
Southern University system president Ray Belton identified the other slain student as Annette January, of Gary. January, also 19, was a freshman and a member of the school’s track and field team, while Benton was a sophomore and a student athletic trainer, Belton said in a statement.
A 24-year-old man also was wounded in the shooting but his injuries weren’t considered life-threatening, police said in a statement.
One of the two women killed in the shooting was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting; the other died at a hospital shortly after the shooting, police said.
“The University asks for prayers and support for the families at this difficult time,” Belton said.
Tillman said her daughter played softball, track and volleyball at her high school in Lake Charles and was studying sports medicine at Southern.
“She was very ambitious,” she added.