ST. PETERSBURG — Rob Savell sprinted to his neighbor's yard early Friday when he heard two gun shots. He jumped the wooden fence and found Karen Gunther on the ground, moaning.
Savell called 911 and used towels to try to stop the bleeding, but there wasn't much he could do. Gunther, 47, died later at Bayfront Medical Center
Gunther, who lived at 5263 Fifth Ave. S, was known in her neighborhood as an outspoken, up-front and loyal friend. She lived alone at the modest St. Petersburg home, with her pit bull mix Romeo for company.
"She'd do anything for you," said longtime friend Genevieve Curry, 37. "She was about her word. If she said she was going to do something, she did something."
Gunther, who friends say worked as a home contractor, went out with a friend Thursday night then came home about midnight, St. Petersburg police said. From there, details get hazy.
She was found shot just before 1 a.m. behind her house, next to her car. Savell, 31, said the driver's door was open.
St. Petersburg police hadn't named any suspects Friday.
Friends said Gunther often hung out at neighborhood get-togethers, where they would play cards and chat. A motorcycle lover, she owned a sports bike but had bought the car after she broke a few bones in a bike crash.
They said her good nature showed in little moments, like the time she washed a winter coat so a friend could go on a special trip. She also wouldn't hesitate to complain about her neighbor's aging rooster waking her up at 3:30 a.m.
"She had a good heart," said neighbor Bob Savell, whose son called 911 Friday.
As police walked around Gunther's lawn, neighbors meandered around side streets. They stared with arms folded and heads full of questions.
"She did not deserve this, man," said neighbor Bernadette Carter.