METAIRIE, La. (WVUE) - A close-knit family since they were kids, Veronica Billiot’s daughter Jessica Andras says she thought her mother was busy buying a new gun for protection at the Jefferson Gun Outlet when her calls went unanswered that fateful day.
“She just went to pick up a gun; the wrong place at the wrong time. She was a completely innocent person,” said Andras and sibling Brooke Rojas.
Billiot’s son Daniel Caple threw up the alarm first, rushing to the gun store with Jessica while Brooke Rojas was caring for her family.
“Started talking to the cops and telling them my mom’s car is in the parking lot. It’s the red SUV. The police came back a little while later and said ‘there is a woman, does she wear a lot of rings?’ and we said yes, gold rings. My brother asked the police if her phone has been ringing off the hook and one of the detectives said yes, it’s been ringing off the hook. I said go by her, I’m going to call and you tell me if that’s my mom. He came back and said it was our mom,” said Andras.
The shootout claimed three lives, including the presumed initial shooter.
And since their mother was found close to the front door, the siblings believe she was killed in the crossfire trying to escape.
“We found out she was shot multiple times by the front door. They said it was very fast and that the paramedics got there very quickly and when they got there she had no pulse and they could not revive her,” said Andras.
A loving mother, the glue of their family, and matriarch to three younger siblings, three children, and six grandchildren, the siblings say their world is forever changed.
“We spent last Sunday, Valentine’s day with her, we did char-grilled oysters at our house,” said Andras.
“I talked to my mom every day, 10 times on the phone. I called her for every little thing in life literally, and now I don’t get to do that any more over something so stupid,” said Rojas.
“A light that shines so bright was lost too soon and she was loving, and she would have given anyone the shirt off her back, and she will be very, very missed,” said Andras.
They all had plans with each other: Veronica’s 60th birthday party in July, camping trips, even family pictures, all stripped away.
“I’m pretty sure the only thing on her mind was ‘what can I do for my kids, what can I do for my grand kids. That’s all she ever thought about, all she ever did,” said Rojas.
And while the siblings say the anger is fleeting, they know they must choose love just as their mother would have.
“Let’s just love one another that’s all we want that’s all she would want,” said Andras.
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