Early morning murder in Lower Garden District baffles residents

New Orleans, La. — People in the Lower Garden District are stunned by a murder early Friday morning.

Police said they were called to the 2000 block of Prytania Street shortly before 1:00 a.m. They found a man inside an apartment bleeding from the head. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Orleans Parish Coroner's Office identified the victim Friday afternoon as 33-year-old Ahmad Sheppard.

Investigators said the apartment had been ransacked and Sheppard's white 2008 Jeep Cherokee, with the license plate number WPR 618, is missing.

"He was a good friend, he was a good friend of mine. He came in the store all the time... he was a good dude, real good dude, you know, and I just couldn't imagine nothing like that happening," said Christian Bond.

Bond works at Zara's, a neighborhood store adjacent to the murder scene. He said the owner, his stepfather Joe Zara, owns the double house. He said Sheppard was killed in his next-door neighbor's apartment.

"I know both these dudes, you know, they come in the store all the time," added Bond.

He and others said they cannot understand how something so brutal could happen.

"I wouldn't see no reason, you know... he's a cool dude, I liked him, and I thought this was the nice area of town, you know what I'm saying?" continued Bond.

"The neighborhood is normally fine," said Randy Haire, who lives in the area.

Haire and others said normally they only hear about minor crimes. "A murder is kind of out of the ordinary, but for the most part, you know, it's usually someone's bike getting stolen, or their car gets broken in to," said Haire.

"We don't have a lot of violence in our neighborhood, you know, I live two blocks away and I'm not overly concerned. If they come to my house I'm prepared, I have a dog and I have protection," said a man identifying himself as Kodaq-G.

Anyone with information that can help investigators is asked to call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.