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Police offer few details in pair's shooting

LAWRENCEVILLE - The next-door neighbor of Barbara Baker said the condition of the elderly woman's home suggests she died next to her wounded daughter after a confrontation with police Tuesday night.

Brandon Jackson, 24, a longtime family friend, echoed the family's concerns Thursday that police were in the wrong at Baker's Tracey Drive home in Duluth.

Baker, 75, was fatally shot by a Gwinnett police officer after her suicidal daughter, Penny Schwartz, 51, brandished a revolver, police said.

Police said the female officer fired several shots to protect herself and somehow struck Baker, who died at the scene.

Police refused to identify the officer and redacted her name from all reports provided to the Post.

Family members believe Schwartz, who died at Gwinnett Medical Center hours later, was shot three times, and Baker once.

"I don't believe police should have even entered the house, knowing that the gun was in there," Jackson said.

But once inside, Jackson argued, "One shot should have been all that was fired. I'm not a police officer, but I have common sense."

The family plans to meet and discuss legal options in coming days, Jackson said. Schwartz's son said earlier this week he believes police used excessive force in the shootings.

Police believe a 911 call made by Baker and autopsies of the bodies could be vital in the ongoing investigation.

Transcripts from that 911 call are not subject to open records laws because they are evidence in an active investigation, said Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman.

The unidentified officer, a 10-year veteran of the force, has been placed on routine administrative leave as the internal investigation continues.

Baker's wishes were to be cremated, and the family is discussing whether to cremate her daughter or opt for a casket burial, Jackson said. The bodies had not been released to the family Thursday, he said.

Jackson said blood splotches and bullet holes in Baker's home suggest Schwartz was shot at the bottom of a staircase, and her mother less than two feet away.

Jackson said he doesn't believe reports that Schwartz may have been pushed over the edge by using street drugs in combination with medication she took for Crohn's disease.

"We're talking about two people I've hung out with for a long time," Jackson said. "As far as I know, Penny hasn't been on any extra drugs other than her medication."