NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Dean of Students at Andrew H. Wilson Charter School in New Orleans was shot and killed over the weekend, according to a statement released from InspireNOLA, the school’s charter organization.
Reginald Field, 50, was shot just after midnight Saturday in the in the 2400 block of A. P. Tureaud Avenue, according to NOPD. The shooting was reported on the neutral ground across from Bullets Sports Bar. NOPD has not released information regarding a motive in the killing, but the bar’s staff said there were no fights or altercations inside Bullets Saturday night.
Field was one of the founding members of InspireNOLA. He was described as a pillar of that community and a committed and dedicated teacher who was also in charge of athletics at the school. While the students’ last day before summer break was last week, the faculty’s last day was this past Friday -- less than 24 hours before Fields was killed.
Jamar McKneely, CEO of InspireNOLA Charter Schools, released the statement below:
"Over this past year, I have had the troubling experience of attending three students’ funerals, and now I will be attending the funeral of a devoted staff member, Mr. Reginald Field, who has inspired and motivated the 700 students of Wilson over the past four years as our founding dean.
I find myself extremely frustrated and tired of the senseless violence that is affecting our city and our students. In all of my 17 years in education, I have never before experienced more pain, suffering, and death in one year due to senseless gun violence. This weekend and this year have brought me to tears and agony that I cannot explain here in words. I am frustrated, confused, and angry; it is our families and our children who are continuously hurt — directly and indirectly — by this unceasing violence, and it must stop.
Mr. Field was an incredible person who cared deeply for his students and for his community, and we are committed to remembering him and honoring his legacy as we grapple with our pain and begin to heal. We ask that you join with us, both now as we come together to celebrate his life that was ended much too early, and in the and in the future as we work collectively for our city to end the violence that continues to plague it. "
Wylene Soraporu, the Chief Academic Officer for InspireNOLA, said the faculty and staff usually go out to celebrate the last day of school, which is what she said she believes Field was doing the night he was killed. Soraporu said Field frequented Bullet’s Sports Bar and it would not be unusual for him to spend time there on his first night of summer vacation.
The owner of the bar said Field was a regular customer and he was always pleasant and friendly.
Soraporu echoed McKneely’s frustration, calling the violence that affected the school and community “senseless," and saying it needs to stop.
“He impacted many lives, not only in this schoolhouse, but InspireNOLA and the Broadmoor community. He was one of the individuals who helped restore what this community could be, working with the parents, the community, the Broadmoor members. So I think everyone is heartbroken," Soraporu said. “It speaks again to the violence in New Orleans that needs to cease.”
Field was not originally from New Orleans, but those who knew him said he became like family, not only to those he worked alongside, but also the students who respected and admired him.
“You don’t meet people often who are willing to pour their entire lives into a school, but that’s who he was,” Soraporu said. “He was a joyful person. He was humorous, he was full of life. There’s no sense I can make, no sense of what’s happened.”
Three of Field’s students were also killed by gun violence this year, and Soraporu said there needs to be a bigger effort to stop more deaths from happening.
“We need to speak up and rally and say this is enough,” she said. “Now, one more great individual trying to do good work, leading the future youth is gone.”
Field was one of five people fatally shot in the metro area over the weekend. A total of 16 people were shot in New Orleans between midnight Saturday and before midnight Monday. Two others were shot in Metairie during the same period.
A vigil for Mr. Field will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. on the neutral ground across from Bullets Sports Bar, 2441 A.P. Tureaud Ave. A memorial service is scheduled for June 1.