Dying from a bullet to the head, Jessica Arrendale found the strength to save the life of her 6-month-old daughter.
“She had pure will,” Arrendale’s mother, Teresa Inniello, told WSB Radio. “She wanted that baby to live.”
Arrendale, 37, had come home from a night out with her daughter Cobie’s father, Antoine Davis, 30, on Sept. 13 when Davis became violent, according to police. With her baby in her arms, Arrendale tried to defend herself with a baseball bat but she was overpowered by Davis, who struck her several times with the bat, according to Inniello.
Davis chased Arrendale up the stairs of her three-story, Atlanta-area townhome. Arrendale locked herself in the bathroom with her daughter but Davis – a former Marine who served in Iraq – retrieved an assault rifle outfitted with a suppressor, broke down the door, and shot Arrendale in the head. With Cobie still in her arms, Arrendale twisted her body to place the 6-month-old in the open toilet bowl and laid her body over her daughter, Arrendale’s mother said.
“He shot her and [the police] don t know how she was able to twist her body and fall literally in the opposite direction, said Inniello, who believes Davis intended to kill his daughter as well but was unable to see the child. He walked into Cobie’s room and fatally shot himself.
Thirteen hours later, Cobie was found by police and taken to a hospital in Atlanta where she is being treated for a traumatic head injury that Inniello said may be the result of being struck by the baseball bat.
Inniello, who already cares for Arrendale’s 15-year-old daughter, Naomi, said she hopes to bring Cobie home soon and a friend is raising funds to help provide for the children as well.
“[My daughter] was the hero,” Ionniello said, “because her last breath was saving the child.”
A memorial service for Arrendale will be held on Sunday in Powder Springs, Georgia.