Ron Baughman was sleeping on his living room sofa just around 4 a.m. Monday when he was abruptly awakened by gunfire as a bullet came blazing through the front window, just inches above him.
When he realized that multiple bullets were whizzing into his Finch Street home, coming dangerously close to him and his 3-month-old daughter, he rolled onto the floor and dove for her as she slept in a swing chair a few feet away.
A bullet struck the fireplace about a foot away from her, and another one hit the center of the television, also less than a few a feet from her.
New Castle police said a total of nine bullets entered the home and struck the windshield of the family car.
Baughman’s fiancée, Autumn Izzo, was upstairs drying her hair and getting ready for work, and the hairdryer drowned out most of the noise. She realized what was going on when Baughman screamed up to her.
“I was just lying on the couch sleeping when I heard glass shattering,” Baughman said. “I saw a hole in the television set and one in the fireplace right next to our daughter.”
He rolled off the couch, grabbed the baby and crouched down until he was sure the gunfire was over.
“I huddled myself against the couch,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do exactly.”
The shooting lasted about 15 seconds, and he wanted to make sure there was no more, then he yelled upstairs to Izzo to make sure she was safe.
Autumn said she is sure that she and Baughman were not the targets of the gunfire, and she wants people to know that the man who they believe was being targeted does not live there.
The couple believes, rather, based on conversations they had yesterday with the New Castle police, that the gunfire resulted from from a fight that broke out between two men several hours earlier in the parking lot of the Double D Cafe on East Washington Street.
Two men were fighting around 7 p.m. Sunday and one of them fired one gunshot. She learned from the police that the man who fired the gun had formerly had been a renter in their Finch Street house for nine months, but he hasn’t lived there for two years.
Baughman said he did not see a car outside, but neighbors who heard the gunfire reported to the police that they saw a man running up Arlington Avenue nearby.
“We want people to know that he does not live here,” she said, adding that she and her family live there now.
Izzo has owned the house for 13 years and lived there most of her life. She moved out nearly three years ago, and leased the house for about nine months to a man who is now a suspect in last night’s fight at the tavern.
She said that during period that he rented from her, the tenant was often getting arrested, and as a result, she was served with a disorderly house citation. She evicted him and has since moved back in to live there with Baughman and their baby.
Now she has a lot of damage to repair, she said.
“The siding’s destroyed, and the fireplace, the wall and the TV have bullet holes,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot of money for something we had nothing to do with.”
“It’s very scary when there are nine bullets coming into your house and it is not random,” she said.
New Castle police chief Bobby Salem said yesterday the police are continuing to gather information about the Double D incident and get identities of the people involved, and question witnesses.
“We feel it was a retaliation to the Double D incident,” he said, adding that the police found at least nine shell casings at the Finch Street house.
No injuries were reported in either incident.