Crime expert calls Tulane grad's murder unusual

Crime expert calls Tulane grad's murder unusual

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New Orleans police attempt to track the steps of a Tulane graduate hours before he's killed. The investigation spans from Uptown to a neighborhood on the edge of Central City.

"At this time we believe motive is robbery, and at some point, the robbery turned deadly," NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said Monday.

Police say Thomas Rolfes was shot once in the chest early Saturday morning. His body was discovered at South Claiborne and Amelia around 4:30 a.m..

"I just want to know why, what happened," said Rolfes' fiancee, Liz Fried.

As Fried and Rolfes' family grieve his death, there are more questions than answers.

"It doesn't fit the typical story that you hear about victims of homicide," Loyola criminologist George Capowich says.

Capowich said robbery victims aren't typically killed.

"Usually robbery takes place, and the offender is using the weapon as a means of control and fear so he can get away as quickly as possible," Capowich said.

Rolfes and Fried both flew into town Friday night to scope out wedding venues. He arrived first and decided to go out with some friends to Miss Mae's bar on Magazine Street. The bar owner told FOX 8 that Rolfes arrived around 12:30 a.m. and left at 2:40 Saturday morning. At 3:31 a.m., the Tulane grad used his credit card 2 miles away at a convenience store on South Claiborne. Then, an hour later, Rolfes' body was found a block from the store at South Claiborne and Amelia. Police don't know if the 25-year-old traveled on foot or by car. Another thing that's not known is why Rolfes purchased two bottles of water from the convenience store.

"We don't understand why," Fried said. "He was never even one to buy bottled water. He thought that was a waste of money, so hopefully we can get some footage to show maybe he was with someone."

"The fact that we know he bought two bottles of water raises more questions that our investigators are working very, very hard to answer," Harrison said.

Police say Rolfes' wallet was taken, and he had marks on his hands indicating a possible scuffle. His fiancee prays his killer will be brought to justice.

"We just want closure. I just want to know what happened. Nothing's gonna bring him back, but I just want closure and I want to find the person responsible," Fried said.

Harrison wouldn't say if any spent shell casings were found around Rolfes' body when it was discovered at Claiborne and Amelia. Harrison said detectives know but aren't ready to release the information.

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