Lee County Sheriff's Office Crime Scene technician Kim Vanwaus uses a metal detector at the site of Thursday's fatal shooting. / Valerie Roche/news-press.com
1:10 A.M. — Deputies had been called to the house of Timothy Baum three times in the past week. The fourth time ended with Baum dead.
Baum, a carpenter and Vietnam veteran, was shot and killed outside his Bonita Springs home by a Lee County deputy around 9 p.m. Thursday. No deputies were injured.
Neighbors described the 54-year-old Baum as disturbed and frightening. A close friend said Baum was having problems with his girlfriend.
That close friend, Stacey Yingst, 37, said, "This is a total shock to me." She said she has been Baum's friend for six years.
Records show that in the past week, deputies responded to Baum's New York Street home three times on various complaints. They were called to the address six times in the past month.
According to Lee County Sheriff Office reports, deputies got a call shortly before 9 p.m. about an armed man near New York and Iowa streets, just west of Old U.S. 41 and north of Bonita Beach Road.
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said in an e-mail Friday afternoon that he would not discuss specifics of the case and would not release the name of the deputy.
Scott said Baum was known to deputies.
As for how many shots were fired and by whom, Scott also remained tight-lipped.
"Particulars on shots fired is part of an ongoing investigation and will not be discussed with media at this time," Scott wrote in the e-mail.
Neighbors who live in a New York Street trailer park across the street said Baum frightened them.
Maria Teresa Jimenez, 40, who lives in the trailer directly across the street from Baum's brown manufactured home, said since Baum moved in "three or four months ago" there have been frequent problems - including a few instances where Baum would shoot his gun.
"He was always screaming and yelling racist insults," Jimenez said through a translator. "That old man was bad."
Jimenez said she heard a single shot at around 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Zeferino Rojas, 33, described Baum as unstable.
"He was always cursing people," Rojas said through a translator.
Yingst knew Baum as a hardworking carpenter.
"He was like a brother to me," she said. "He was a nice guy. I've never seen him in a cross way. If he was freaking out there had to be a reason. I knew he and his girlfriend were having problems."
Deputy responses to Baum's home this week:
- On Tuesday, deputies were called to the home after someone reported hearing six or seven gunshots.
- On Monday, deputies were at the home to perform an area check on a past burglary. Baum called deputies to report keys to his home were taken and several items were missing.
- On Sunday, deputies were called to the residence when Baum reported his girlfriend, Laurie Rossey, was intoxicated and took his pills.
Other incidents dating to last fall include reports of Baum hitting a woman in the face March 20 and a complaint filed by Baum against his neighbors' loud music from across the street.
There were no arrests made in any of the instances.
Miriam Gonzalez, another neighbor, said through a translator that she was afraid of Baum.
"The people here feel unsafe. The kids are playing," said Gonzalez, 24, carrying her 1-year-old son and watching her 3-year-old daughter ride her bike down New York Street. "What if one of the children passed through there when he was shooting?"