RIVERVIEW — About five months ago, 19-year-old Amber Baker told a friend she was in an abusive relationship. The friend told her to leave her boyfriend, Danny Larocco, 22.
Just a little before 7 a.m. Wednesday, Larocco and Baker were arguing in their mobile home when Larocco fatally shot her in the chest with a .45-caliber gun, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. After consulting with prosecutors, the Sheriff's Office arrested Larocco on a charge of culpable negligence manslaughter with a firearm. He also faces charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony.
Larocco called 911 to report the shooting about 6:56 a.m., the Sheriff's Office said. Friends and family gathered Wednesday morning outside the mobile home on property at 6642 U.S. 301 while law enforcement investigated.
Hours before the Sheriff's Office announced Larocco's arrest, Baker's friends and family recounted their pleas for her to leave him.
"He always would tell her what to do; he was pretty much controlling," said Amber Christopher, 24, Baker's cousin. "She was a pretty outgoing person … once they got together, her whole demeanor changed."
Rebecca Lloyd, 26, Baker's friend who had told her to leave Larocco, drove to the property upon hearing the news.
"I just dropped to the floor and was crying," Lloyd said. "She was a very close, close friend. I cannot believe I just got that call."
A sign outside the property reads "Pinewood Mobile Home Rentals Moving." The owner sells mobile homes and also rents some at the property, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Cristal Bermudez Nunez.
The mobile homes were surrounded by a chain-link fence off of U.S. 301.
Baker did not have a job, friends and family said. Larocco has not been convicted of a crime in Florida, state records show.
Times staff writer Will Hobson and researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Laura C. Morel can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3386.