Residents say they never heard gunfire before Tulane grad's murder

Residents don't remember hearing gunfire
Published: May. 11, 2016 at 1:32 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2016 at 8:57 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Some Central City residents who live near the area where Thomas Rolfes was found dead say they never heard gunfire that morning. Police continue to re-trace the steps of the Tulane graduate from an Uptown bar to the edge of Central city where he was last seen alive.

New video obtained from a phone repair business on South Claiborne Avenue is dark but appears to show a man discovering Rolfes' body at 4:26 Saturday morning. James Wallace lives above the shop at Claiborne and Amelia and said he witnessed the aftermath.

"I would say I got off maybe around 3:30," Wallace said. "I pulled up here around 4. I actually parked my truck right there, in that spot, and I came inside. I might have been inside for 10, maybe 15 minutes and I heard screams."

Wallace said the screams came from a woman who called 911. In the video, the man who finds the body looks like he uses a flash light on his phone to get a better look.Then, others show up. Police say the motive in the murder is robbery.

"Rolfes' wallet was missing and by the injuries on his hands, it appears there may have been, some type of struggle," NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison said.

"It's sad, it's just a shame, it's just a shame," resident Viola Cosey said Tuesday.

One after the other, neighborhood residents told us they didn't hear any gunshots Saturday morning.

"I sleep very light because I'm in a neighborhood where there are gunshots being done," Ruby Warren said. "Even I hear the cars passing by, but it was just ironic that I didn't hear anything, you know?"

Warren said on the off chance she doesn't hear something, her dog, Zoe, certainly will.

"Zoe didn't wake up, and when she hears things, she would wake up and let me know something is wrong," Warren said.

Police won't say if any spent shell casings were found near the body. For now they are continuing their search for surveillance video, even asking businesses for help along the route Rolfes may have taken from Ms. Mae's bar on Magazine Street to a convenience store on Claiborne an hour before he was found dead.

Rolfes died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. He'd only flown into New Orleans hours earlier to look at wedding locations with his new fiancee.

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