Nicole Malone and her children were asleep Monday when two people were shot to death and a third was wounded on the street outside her home in LaPlace.
The firing began about 2 a.m. “We were lying down in bed and that’s what woke us up,” Malone said. “First, it was in the distance and then it got closer and closer. I just got my kids out of sleep and we got on the ground.”
Authorities say the three victims had pulled up in a car on the 400 block of State Street in what is usually a quiet subdivision of modest, one-story homes.
They had just parked and were leaving the vehicle when one or more gunmen opened fire from a white, four-door pickup that had been following them, according to St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre.
Travis Gregoire, 23, and Sierra Gregoire, 18, both of LaPlace, were killed, marking just the second and third homicides in the parish this year.
Travis Gregoire died Monday morning at River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace, and Sierra Gregoire died that afternoon at University Medical Center in New Orleans.
A third victim, another 23-year-old man, was wounded. Authorities have not released his name but said he was in stable condition at University Medical Center on Monday.
Calling it a “vicious, brutal attack” at an afternoon news conference, Tregre extended “prayers and thoughts to the victims and their families.”
The first homicide of the year in St. John Parish occurred less than three weeks ago, when 26-year-old Kentrell Hayes was shot to death Sept. 18 in Garyville. Tregre said his department still is investigating that shooting.
The parish saw eight homicides in 2014 and 14 homicides in 2013, the sheriff said.
Monday’s shooting left neighbors shaken.
Hours later, Malone’s 3-year-old son, Darrell, sat in his Spider-man chair in a living room still strewn with shards from a glass panel and window shattered by bullets. At least three shots struck the home.
Darrell’s sister, Jermaine, 16, said they all ducked for cover as soon as they heard shots. “I was scared. We all were,” she said.
Laura Campbell, 59, who lives a few houses away from the crime scene, emerged from her home after the shooting to a scene of carnage. Campbell said she didn’t know the young man who was killed but had known his mother. She said the victims who were killed were cousins.
“I’m looking at that body laying in that car, that boy’s head down on the ground, all his legs in the car, his head down on the ground,” she said. “And the little girl, she was laying at this lady’s house over here. I thought she was a little girl. But she was 18 years old.”
A nearby driveway was splattered with blood.
“They wanted them and they shot them like it is just nothing to shoot people,” Campbell said. “My heart goes out to them and their mothers.”
Tregre said investigators were looking Monday for the white pickup with an extended cab. So far, investigators have yet to discover a motive or say whether they think one or more gunmen were involved.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office at (985) 359-8477 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. Callers do not have to testify in court and might qualify for a cash reward, the Sheriff’s Office said.
People with information also can submit tips on the Sheriff’s Office website at http://stjohnsheriff.org/submitatip.php.