People close to Connie McAvoy were stunned Friday after authorities said her 21-year-old son killed her with a shotgun blast inside their Metairie home on Thursday.

Her brother and a family friend recalled some recent tension between McAvoy and her son, Chad McAvoy, because he hadn't been working after leaving previous jobs at a video game store and a sporting goods retailer. 

But they never expected the situation to escalate into violence.

Connie McAvoy, 42, was shot once in the back and killed. It was initially reported to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office as a possible suicide before Chad McAvoy confessed and was jailed on a count of second-degree murder, authorities said.

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"This is all a shock to us," Bernard Lassabe, the victim's brother and suspect's uncle, said Friday. "That kid was her world. We don't understand it. We don't even get it."

A family friend who declined to give his name but answered the McAvoys' door on Friday morning relayed what he had been told about the previous afternoon's events at the ranch-style home in the 4800 block of Loveland Street.

He said Steven McAvoy heard his wife and son having an argument in another room. Things became momentarily quiet, but then a blast was heard, according to the friend.

When Steven McAvoy realized his wife had been shot, it didn't even occur to him that his son may have been responsible, the friend said. So when he called 911, he reported that it was possible his wife had killed herself.

"His initial thought process wasn't covering it up," the friend said. "He just wasn't sure what happened, and he couldn't believe that his son may have done it." 

But investigators quickly realized that suicide wasn't a possibility. Connie McAvoy, who was lying in a hallway next to a shotgun, had a gunshot wound to the back, Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich said. 

"It would've been impossible" for her to do that on her own, Sheriff Joe Lopinto said. 

Deputies brought both Steven and Chad McAvoy in for questioning, and neither man claimed to have seen Connie McAvoy shoot herself, Lopinto said.

In the end, Lopinto said, Chad McAvoy admitted to shooting his mother during an argument. The sheriff declined to elaborate further on the alleged confession. 

McAvoy remained behind bars Friday afternoon. He faces mandatory life imprisonment if eventually convicted of murder. 

Steven McAvoy said Friday he did not wish to speak about his wife or son. 

Both Lassabe and the family friend said they had never seen any indication that Chad McAvoy might be violent.

He has no prior felony arrests as an adult in Jefferson Parish or New Orleans, according to court records. Lopinto said his deputies had not previously been to the McAvoys' home. 

Lassabe said his sister worked as a medical assistant at a doctor's office. She leaves behind three siblings, her parents and one other son from another relationship, he said. 

Lassabe said his sister was a natural caretaker, happily babysitting her relatives' kids.

WWL-TV reported being told by Connie McAvoy's mother that Steven McAvoy "was filing divorce papers." A Facebook page under Connie McAvoy is dominated by photos showing her smiling alongside Chad McAvoy, his dad and other relatives. 

"She lived for her kids. She lived for my kids," Lassabe said. "She helped everyone in this family. 

"This doesn't make any sense." 

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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