‘His world revolved around his kids’: Father of three, aspiring rapper gunned down in Central City _lowres

Advocate staff photo by DELLA HASSELLE -- Police secure the scene of a murder at the intersection of First and Willow streets in Central City. Behind the officers, a white Chevrolet Silverado truck is riddled with bullet holes.

Curtis Every was in his living room Saturday afternoon, watching television, when he heard what he said must have been nine or 10 gunshots.

Every, 58, said he walked outside to see his nephew, whom he identified as Lauren Chriss, lying on the ground in a pool of blood.

A white Chevrolet Silverado pickup was haphazardly parked in the middle of the street, the driver’s door open. Seven bullet holes were visible on the passenger’s side, forming a jagged line.

New Orleans police said the fatal shooting happened shortly before 3:45 p.m. They responded to the scene at First and Willow streets after receiving reports of shots being fired. When officers arrived, they said they found a 30-year-old man lying face down next to the truck, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Family members said that when they ran outside after hearing the gunfire, Chriss was still moving. But by the time police arrived, Chriss — who family members said was 24 — had died.

As officers secured the block with crime tape and marked the sites of at least 12 shell casings with bright green cones, relatives and friends of the dead man could be seen clutching each other, crying and at times yelling out in anger and frustration.

Dozens of neighbors looked on. Some described a normally safe block with little disturbance.

“I sure don’t know,” Every said about why someone would want to kill his nephew, whom he described as a “family man” and father who had a day job working offshore. “I wish I could tell you, but I don’t know.”

A cousin, who referred to himself only as “Fat Boy,” said Chriss loved to rap. He also described a man who doted on his kids and was close with other family members.

As police began clearing away the tape, shortly after 6:30 p.m., Terese Bijou broke down again, mourning the loss of the man with whom she had three children.

“He was my heart,” Bijou said as she stood near Mount Everest Baptist Church, sobbing. “That was my children’s father.”

Bijou said the kids are ages 9, 7 and 3.

Police said the investigation was ongoing and detectives were trying to determine a motive or suspect.

Like Every, Bijou said she couldn’t imagine what that motive might be.

“I don’t have a clue, because he didn’t bother nobody,” Bijou said. “He loved his kids. His world revolved around his kids.”

Police said Homicide Detective Nicholas Williams is in charge of the investigation and can be reached at (504) 658-5300.