UPDATE, 1 p.m Thursday: The car allegedly stolen from a murder victim in Chalmette Tuesday night was found burning under the St. Claude bridge in New Orleans Wednesday, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
New Orleans police saw smoke coming from under the bridge ramp on its eastern side and found a silver Chevrolet Impala on fire Wednesday. New Orleans firefighters extinguished the blaze, according to a news release from the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office.
The license was still on the car and was identified as the vehicle Keith Guerra, 30, of New Orleans, was driving on Palmisano Boulevard in Chalmette before he was killed just after 7 p.m. Tuesday and the vehicle stolen, Pohlmann said.
The car has been turned over to the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Anyone with information on the murder should call the Sheriff's Office at (504) 271-2501 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
A New Orleans man who was shot to death Tuesday night in Chalmette might have been targeted by the robbers who took his vehicle, according to the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Keith Guerra Jr., 30, who grew up in Chalmette but was living in eastern New Orleans, was killed about 7:20 p.m. on Palmisano Boulevard near Missouri Street.
Guerra’s uncle and godfather, Jesse Mendoza, said Guerra attended Chalmette High. He said Guerra had managed the Monkey Hill Bar in Uptown New Orleans until a couple of months ago.
“You know, he got in trouble when he was younger, but he was finally straightening his life out,” Mendoza, 42, said. “He wasn’t the type you ever expected to hear got shot — and if he was, (it would be by) a jealous boyfriend.”
It was the first homicide of the year in St. Bernard.
Guerra was shot in the chest by one of two men who rear-ended his silver Chevrolet Impala, according to Col. John Doran, the Sheriff’s Office’s head of operations.
The men, in a light-colored SUV, possibly a Ford, got out of that vehicle and argued with Guerra and his passenger before shooting Guerra, Doran said. The two then fled. One drove off in Guerra’s Impala and the other drove the SUV they had arrived in, Doran said.
“This wasn’t random,’’ he said.
He added that the suspects might have followed Guerra from New Orleans or else knew where he was going.
Doran said the passenger in Guerra’s car had been using illegal drugs in eastern New Orleans earlier Tuesday and had called Guerra for a ride back to Chalmette, where he lives with his father.
Authorities said they weren’t releasing the name of the passenger because he is a witness. The man suffered minor injuries in the incident, the Sheriff’s Office said.
An off-duty sheriff’s deputy who lives nearby heard at least two gunshots and found Guerra on the street, Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann said Tuesday evening. The deputy tried to revive him, but he died at the scene.
Mendoza arrived at the scene quickly because his brother is a New Orleans police officer and called him, Mendoza said.
Guerra had been living with his mother in eastern New Orleans, according to Mendoza, who said he was speaking on behalf of the family because Guerra’s mother and father are “just completely destroyed.”
After he stopped working at Monkey Hill, Guerra told his uncle he was doing “some sort of construction work.”
The Sheriff’s Office asked anyone with information on the crime to call (504) 271-2501 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.