Why her? Why, neighbors and friends wonder, was Anna Lee Davis Holmes who would have turned 32 on Monday senselessly murdered Friday night when she was so good, so sweet, a generous mother, a fine worker, a lady. Why?
Now, instead of helping the young West Valley woman celebrate her birthday, her friends and family will be preparing to attend her funeral Tuesday.Holmes was fatally shot Friday night during an armed robbery at a Kearns video store. The baby she was carrying, her fourth daughter, was delivered by Caesarean section. Despite being born six weeks premature, the child was upgraded from critical to serious condition Saturday afternoon at University Hospital.
"Anna was worried about getting ready for the baby, and she was going to spend Saturday buying baby clothes," said Janice Harman, a neighbor of the Holmes family on Grouse Circle. Harman has been well-acquainted with the family for the past 10 to 11 years.
"Mike (Holmes' husband) is very concerned about the child, but doctors have told him that she will be fine," Harmon said. "He said this morning that he guessed he'd have to start getting clothing for the baby."
Harmon said the couple, who have three daughters, were hoping for a boy. "If it had been a boy they were going to name it Michael, and if it was a girl, they were going to call her Michelle Anna a combination of both of their names."
That was the name given to the infant in the U. Hospital.
"Mike said this morning they will probably call her (by a nickname) Shelly Ann," she said. "He's having a hard time, but handling it pretty well. He says he feels `comforted.' "
Michael H. Holmes, a Scout leader in the Jordan North 15th Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had taken some Scouts on an overnight outing Friday on Stansbury Island in Tooele County. He didn't learn about the shooting until 9:30 p.m. minutes before his wife died.
While the Scouts were away, Anna Holmes, her three daughters Brandy Lee, 11, Mindy Ann, 9, Angela Louise, 7 and three of their friends decided to have a party of their own. They drove to the Video Voyager to rent a movie.
But their evening fun abruptly ended when a gunman, without cause, shot a helpless Holmes before he escaped.
Harmon said the girls were all in tears Saturday morning. "Brandy was having the hardest time. She says she keeps hearing the sound of the gun and the sound her mother made when she was shot," she said. "She was upset because she doesn't understand why it happened. Her mother was doing everything he (the gunman) told her to do. She doesn't understand."
Harmon said the two youngest girls didn't see the shooting because Mindy grabbed Angie and pushed her behind the counter. But their neighborhood friends witnessed the horrifying event.
All were seen by a crisis team after being taken to Pioneer Valley Hospital, and a psychologist talked with the youngsters during the night. Harmon said the principal of Farns-worth Elementary School has guaranteed a counselor will be available to the girls whenever they return to school.
Karen Beames, a next-door neighbor for 12 years, said the girls were very close to their mother. Holmes frequently took time off work just to be with her daughters.
Beames spent the night at the hospital with the family and said the girls were being quite open about the whole incident.
But probably only time will heal the deep wounds of the many people who knew and loved Anna Holmes.
"She was a little quiet, but really kind and sweet. I never heard her say anything bad about anyone. She always had something nice to say about everyone," Harmon said. "And she was always willing to volunteer for this and that. She was very thoughtful."
Beames described Holmes as a person who loved life, and a hard worker.
"She was a lady very poised. She always looked nice. She was a good mother and a good wife," said Beames.
Harmon last spoke with Holmes at 7 p.m. Friday, just a few hours before the shooting. "I called her to talk about a teachers' appreciation project we are planning. She said because she didn't have to go in to work until later, she could take some baskets to teachers Monday morning."
Holmes was branch manager of Benjamin Franklin Savings and Loan in Kearns. She was active in church and civic activities, currently serving as first counselor in her LDS stake Relief Society presidency and as Young Women's Laurel adviser. She was also secretary/treasurer of the West Valley City Chamber of Commerce.
"Anna will be greatly missed," Harmon said. "I don't know one person who didn't like her."
Funeral services will begin at noon April 26 in the Jordan North 15th Ward meetinghouse, 4165 S. 3920 West. Friends may call at 4330 S. Redwood Road from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the church an hour before services.
Burial will be in the Valley View Memorial Park.