An L.W. Higgins High School student was shot in the back and killed in front of his family’s apartment in Westwego early Monday morning.

Kevin Thomas Jr., 15, was killed in the Tanglewood apartment complex in the 1000 block of Sycamore Drive about 12:30 a.m., police said. His mother called 911 to say her son had been shot. When officers arrived, they found Thomas dead on his parents’ living room floor.

Westwego Police Department spokesman Lt. Eric Orlando said a preliminary investigation suggested that Thomas was outside talking to three to four people when several shots were fired. Police believe he was retreating when he was shot in the back.

Outside the modest apartment complex Monday afternoon, Thomas’ distraught mother was surrounded by acquaintances trying to comfort her. She declined to comment, saying the killing was still too recent.

Orlando said the motive was unclear but that police were “not ruling out” the possibility the killing was drug-related. A small amount of marijuana in individually packed bags was found in Thomas’ room, he said. After police received a search warrant for the house, he said, they also found a handgun that had been reported stolen under his mattress.