In first TV interview, murdered SU student's mom says daughter was doing God's work
BATON ROUGE - The mother of one of two Southern University students killed in a barrage of gunfire Sunday said she was more worried about her daughter being at home in their native Chicago than in South Louisiana where she ended up losing her life.
"When I look over everything," Dawn January said, "It's just like when is it going to stop? When are we going to address issues the way they should be addressed and not use guns as a mend?"
January spoke to WBRZ reporter Ambria Washington Monday in between visiting with police and meeting with officials from the coroner who determined her daughter was shot in the chest.
Southern freshman Annette January and sophomore Lashuntae Benton were killed Sunday in the parking lot of the Cottages apartment on Ben Hur, in between Burbank and Nicholson. 24-year-old Brandon Henderson was also hit and survived. Authorities believe Henderson and shooting suspect Ernest Bernard Felton exchanged gunfire and bullets from one of their guns hit the two women.
Police are confident bullets from Felton's weapon hit Henderson, so Felton was charged with Henderson's shooting injury. Click HERE to read more about the case.
"I got the call... close to 2 o'clock (Sunday morning) and her roommate said she had got shot in the back," January said in the only TV interview about the shooting. "I'm half sleep so I'm, like ya know, 'who?'"
January said it appears her daughter heard the gunfire and ran to shield her friend, the other murder victim.
The fact that Annette January gave her life trying to help others came as no surprise to her mother.
"(She was doing) what God told you to do. Gave (her) life trying to save others," Dawn January said.
Annette January was on a full scholarship to Southern where she ran track. Authorities said January and others had gathered at the apartment complex with other Southern student-athletes when the gunfire erupted during an impromptu footrace in the parking lot.
"Everybody was standing in the parking lot watching the guys race each other," Dawn January said. "They were just out there having fun."
Shock echoed by Southern University. Officials said in a news conference Monday afternoon, the track team thought they had gathered in a safe place to spend a night celebrating after a Saturday track meet.
"My biggest fear was that I wasn't there when she left. But, when I found out that she was with friends, that helped me a lot," Dawn January said.
Benton was a student-trainer for athletic teams. She was from Lake Charles. Her family was set to arrive in Baton Rouge later Monday.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz