A 28-year-old Tulane University law student fatally shot his 25-year-old girlfriend, also a law student, and then killed himself inside an apartment on Willow Street in Uptown New Orleans, authorities said Sunday.
The Coroner’s Office identified them as Sara LaMont and Wajih Mazloum.
A roommate found their bodies inside an upstairs apartment in a large house at Willow and Joseph streets about 10 a.m. Sunday, NOPD Officer Garry Flot said in a news release. A handgun was found next to the man, Flot said.
“During the course of the investigation, detectives determined that the male fatally shot his girlfriend and then fatally shot himself,” Flot said.
Another resident of the large fourplex said he answered a knock at the door Sunday morning to find someone looking for Mazloum; he told the visitor that the man lived in the unit next door. There, the roommate answered the door, leading to the discovery of the bodies, the resident said.
The neighbor, who declined to give his name, said he was home all night but did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary before he went to bed about 10:30 p.m.
“I was here last night, but me and my girlfriend didn’t hear anything,” the neighbor said. “Nothing woke us.”
The man said he and his girlfriend had both seen the couple within the past few days and didn’t detect any signs of trouble.
“From everything I gathered, everything seemed fine,” he said.
Mazloum had lived at the apartment for more than a year, the neighbor said, and they would talk fairly frequently.
“I would give him advice, because he was a couple of years behind me,” said the neighbor, a recent law school graduate. “We just talked about law school. He was always very friendly.”
In a message sent Sunday afternoon to the “Tulane community,” university President Mike Fitts said both LaMont and Mazloum were second-year law students.
“We are in contact with the families and closest friends of these two young people and are offering them every possible assistance and support. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them. We are also ready to help anyone in the Tulane community in need of our counseling services,” Fitts said.
“Today’s devastating news comes as we are struggling with a number of earlier losses in the Tulane community during what has been an extraordinarily difficult year,” he said, referring to the deaths last semester of five students, including three who apparently committed suicide. “I pledge to you that no effort will be spared by me or anyone in the university’s leadership as we seek the comfort and healing of our community.”
Other neighbors said the occupants of the fourplex’s two upstairs apartments were well known as fixtures on their porches, smoking cigarettes, talking to each other or passers-by and generally keeping an eye on things.
One woman recalled coming home to find a car being towed by the police, and the people on the balcony told her it had been abandoned there for more than a month.
“They always knew what was going on,” the woman said. “They were like the neighborhood watch.”
After the police investigation concluded, the recent law school graduate stood on his porch by himself while a ceiling fan turned slowly overhead. The discoveries of the morning, he said, were difficult to process.
“It just doesn’t seem real,” he said. “I’m just going to relax, count my blessings and reflect on it a little bit, I guess.”
Anyone with information is asked to call NOPD Homicide Detective Gregory Johnson at (504) 658-5300.