MABLETON, Ga. (WKRN) – A Georgia mother is being called a hero by her family after she died while shielding her six-month-old daughter from being shot.
According to WSB-TV, the incident occurred last Saturday night in 33-year-old Jessica Arrendale’s townhome.
Her family said she went out with the baby’s father, 30-year-old Antoine Davis, earlier in the evening.
Davis, a former Marine who served in Iraq, reportedly became drunk and abusive and chased Arrendale up the stairs of the home around Midnight.
She tried to defend herself with a baseball bat, but Davis allegedly hit her with it while she was holding their daughter, Cobie. The baby suffered a traumatic head injury that the family says may have come from Davis swinging the bat.
Arrendale then locked herself in the bathroom with her baby, reported WSB-TV.
Davis grabbed his assault rifle, broke into the bathroom and shot the mother of his child in the head. Instead of falling to the floor, Arrendale fell over the toilet, dropping her daughter Cobie into the bowl.
“He shot her and [police] don’t know how she was able to twist her body and fall literally in the opposite direction,” said Teresa Inniello, Arrendale’s mother.
Inniello believes Davis intended to kill Cobie too. She said Arrendale is a hero because her body covered the child, preventing her from being shot.
“She was the hero because her last breath was saving the child,” explained Inniello.
Police said after shooting Arrendale, Davis went to the baby’s room and took his own life.
Authorities arrived after they received reports that someone was in the home with a gun. They initially thought a victim was being held hostage, but they were not able to contact anyone in the house, so they were cautious about rushing inside.
The baby was rescued from the toilet 13 hours later.
She is recovering at the Children’s Health Care of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital. Her grandmother hopes to take her home and raise her along with Arrendale’s older daughter, who is 15.
*WSB-TV contributed to this story.