A 22-year-old man who moved with his brother from Mexico to Baton Rouge in search of a better life was shot and killed in an attempted armed robbery.
The shooting happened around 11:30 p.m. Monday in the 12000 block of Cate Avenue, in the Ashley Place subdivision off Florida Boulevard east of Sherwood Forest Boulevard.
Hugo Sanchez Lopez, who was found suffering from a gunshot wound when police arrived, had lived at a Cate Avenue duplex with his brother, Eduardo. They both had traveled from Puebla, Mexico, to Louisiana to find better opportunities.
Hugo Lopez died at the scene, Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola Jr. said.
Speaking through a translator Tuesday morning, Eduardo said his brother worked as a painter for a construction company and spent his free time tending to his truck. He described Lopez as a dedicated worker who mostly kept to himself.
Left alone now, with the rest of his family back home in Mexico, Eduardo said he hopes whoever killed his brother will be brought to justice.
Investigators believe the shooting happened during a robbery, Coppola said, but there are no suspects at this time.
A witness to the shooting, who asked not to be named because they fear retaliation, said Lopez was outside his home in the driveway with three friends working on his truck Monday night when they were approached by two unknown men armed with a gun.
The men demanded they hand over their wallets, according to the witness, and fired at the ground near their feet to intimidate them after Lopez and his friends said they had no money.
A fight broke out among the men, during which one of Lopez’s companions was hit over the head with the gun.
At some point during the scuffle, one of the men fired the gun three to five times, according to the witness. Lopez fell to the ground and the two assailants ran away, leaving the gun behind on the pavement.
Neighbors said a string of armed robberies has plagued the neighborhood recently, and that residents spotted a suspicious car on the street earlier that day. Though people living in the area will call 911 to report the incidents, many are afraid they will be targeted for reporting the crimes.
Police have seen an increase in robberies in and around the Cate Avenue area, according to Coppola, and several investigations into these incidents remain ongoing.
On Tuesday morning, neighbors Angelica Garcia and Angelica Rincon huddled with others around small pools of blood that had collected on the driveway where Lopez was killed the night before.
They doused the area with holy water and placed candles and a vase of flowers in the middle of the puddles. Rincon said though they live nearby, they didn’t know Lopez. Still, they felt compelled to honor his memory.
“We did this because we understand they came all the way from Mexico to come over here to get a better life,” Rincon said. “They don’t have no family members here, so we just do it to help them out because nobody deserves that. Nobody.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact officials at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.