Vigil held to remember 19-year-old shot, killed in broad daylight outside Plum Orchard tire shop
“I’m never going to be able to see my child get married. I’m never going to be able to see my child have a child.”
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Loved ones gathered Friday evening at Joe Brown Park to remember a 19-year-old girl gunned down outside of a Plum Orchard tire shop, calling for justice and an end to the epidemic of gun violence plaguing New Orleans’ streets.
Paige Torregano, 19, was sitting in her car on Tuesday afternoon outside of the tire shop on Chef Menteur Highway. Her friend, the niece of Councilman Oliver Thomas, was sitting in the blue sedan with her.
Her mother, Kimberly Gentry, said Torregano was getting her tire changed and later going to cash a check.
According to police, around 3:21 p.m. four men approached the car and gunned down Torregano. Thomas said more than 50 rounds were fired, his niece was also struck in the head and face. She remains in the hospital with critical injuries.
MORE: Councilman Oliver Thomas’ niece seriously injured in Plum Orchard double shooting
“It’s like my heart literally was ripped out of my chest,” Gentry said. “She was a sweetheart. To know her is to love her.”
When she arrived on scene, Gentry said there was immediate confusion.
“I was at work and I got the call. But when I got there, no one ever told me she passed,” she said. “They told me she was at the hospital. But she still was inside the car when I got there.”
Now, she’s living every mother’s worst nightmare.
“It’s heartbreaking.. it’s heartbreaking.. it’s heartbreaking,” Gentry said. “Something needs to be done. It’s horrible. Mothers are losing their kids, it’s bad. You can’t even drive in your car.”
Gentry said her daughter was a hard worker, picking up the overnight shifts at a Brothers store and doing hair on the side.
“It makes you feel that this city is lost,” said Gina Allen, Torregano’s manager and a longtime family friend. “Hearing this happened to Paige, and the way it happened... it’s like, who’s going to help us? Who’s here to help us?”
Allen and Gentry said the men who killed Torregano were all wearing full face coverings, making it difficult for investigators to identify them. Covering your face in public is illegal under Louisiana law, with some minor exceptions.
“The way that this happened was some stuff you hear about happening in Mexico with the cartel. Not in broad daylight, within a populated metropolitan city in the United States, with police and police cameras and people out and about,” Allen said. “The way that this was done was so heinous, I can only [compare] it with what a cartel would do.”
Anyone with information on the double shooting is asked to contact NOPD homicide detective Matthew Riffle at (504) 658-5300 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
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