Darrell James Fortune spent Saturday afternoon painting cinder blocks to memorialize several of his dead family members. He planned to place the finished products in the front yard of his Hollywood Street home, his family members said.
But sometime between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, Fortune was fatally shot just inside the front door of his home, said Valery Simpson, a cousin of Fortune’s who last saw him Saturday night and was among a group of family members gathered outside his home Monday afternoon.
Police said the 57-year-old man was found fatally shot about 2:30 p.m. Sunday inside his home. There were no obvious signs of forced entry, nor did evidence suggest a struggle preceded the shooting, said Cpl. Don Coppola Jr., a police spokesman.
“They don’t know how long he had been there” before he was found, said Simpson, who was holding a picture of her cousin wearing a Saints football jersey. Fortune lived at the home alone, Simpson said.
Fortune was born and raised in Old South Baton Rouge, where he was known as “Cookie” because he often sold snacks and the moniker fit with his last name, said Gloria Fortune, a niece of Darrell Fortune.
Gloria Fortune, a Baton Rouge native, said she traveled from her home in Texas over the weekend to visit “her favorite uncle.”
But she didn’t make it before he was killed.
“I just showed up to come see him and police cars were everywhere,” she said. “I’m still in shock about it. I wasn’t expecting that at all.”
Darrell Fortune’s family members described him as a kind family man. He often finished his sentences with “one love,” and he typically served as the family’s peacemaker during any disputes.
“We thought he was going to die of old age, if anything,” Gloria Fortune said.
After spending much of his adult life in New York City, Darrell Fortune returned home to work as a self-employed plumber, his family members said. He was known as “Darrell the Plumber,” they said.
Family members believe Fortune must have known his killer. Police were not aware of any motive or suspect in Fortune’s death as of Monday evening.
Investigators asked anyone with information about Fortune’s death to call the Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.
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