BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Police Department is still working to figure out how a man asking for money in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s on Perkins Road turned into a deadly shooting on Saturday, Aug. 22.
BRPD confirms to WAFB there have been no arrests in this case so far, and police have not released the name of the person who reportedly pulled the trigger.
Now, for the first time, a woman who says the man ended up dead just seconds after asking her for money is talking about what happened.
“Yes, he did ask for money. Yes, maybe he did come a little into my space to speak to me, but that’s not a death sentence,” said Kaylee.
Kaylee, who didn’t want her full name used, says she and her roommate were leaving Trader Joe’s Saturday evening when they were approached by a man, later identified as Danny Buckley, 61.
“He was like, you know, ‘Hey, can I get some money?’ And I didn’t have any cash or anything. I just kept walking and I didn’t engage with him,” said Kaylee.
A source familiar with the case tells WAFB Buckley was begging for money in the store’s parking lot.
Kaylee says she ignored Buckley, but as she was getting into her car, she remembers hearing another man talking.
“I looked over and I could see him [other man], and he said, ‘Hey, leave those girls alone.’ Well then I got into my car because I don’t like confrontation,” she said.
As Kaylee’s roommate got to the car, the girls say they heard one loud pop.
“She [roommate] thought something had fallen to the ground. She thought she had dropped something. She ends up getting into the car and she says, ‘I think that guy has a gun.’ And I was like, ‘There’s no way,‘” said Kaylee.
Kaylee tells WAFB as they left, they saw Buckley on the ground, but it appeared he was getting up. The pair had no idea how badly he was hurt until police cars rushed to the parking lot. Kaylee says they went back and tried to talk with the BRPD officers, but didn’t end up giving a statement until the next morning.
“Whenever I gave my statement, I made sure to tell them that I never felt threatened as a young woman. I’m 21, white female, so that’s why we were so confused that why this man just felt that this was the necessary action to take. We couldn’t really believe it,” said Kaylee.
The Baton Rouge Business Report quoted sources as saying the shooter fired in self defense because he and his wife felt threatened by Buckley.
WAFB was told Buckley frequently asked folks in the area for money. But it’s still unknown as to what exactly went down in those seconds right before he was shot.
“A lot of people, they just make it from day to day based on what they have and what they can get,” said Debra Blacher, shelter director at St. Vincent de Paul.
Blacher says while there is a panhandling issue in Baton Rouge, she’s not sure if there’s really a simple solution to the problem.
“There’s a lot of support and there are lots of resources, but it’s just that sometimes people don’t have access to it, and then again, there are those who actually it’s a way of life for them. It’s all they know,” said Blacher.
The big lingering questions that remains in this case is whether or not the shooting will be determined justifiable.
BRPD says they’re still investigating all the details of this case, and to call Crime Stoppers if you know anything. The phone number is 225-344-7867.
East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome issued the following statement Tuesday, Aug. 25 about the incident:
“I am very concerned about the incident that occurred this past weekend outside of a local business, and I am still gathering information from the public and law enforcement. The situation is still under investigation and I have spoken with Chief Murphy Paul and asked him to conduct a fair and transparent review of what happened. I appreciate the citizens who have come forward with information thus far, and welcome any other information citizens might have. Every citizen deserves to be treated justly, and I promise to the residents of East Baton Rouge Parish that this investigation will be conducted fairly.”
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office released the cause of death for Buckley Tuesday. Officials with the coroner’s office said Buckley died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
To learn more about St. Vincent de Paul and the resources they provide, click here.
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