The widow of a streetcar mechanic gunned down at a busy Mid-City intersection after sharing a Christmas meal with his family made an emotional plea for the public’s help in finding his killer at a news conference Thursday.
Authorities said they have received few tips and have determined no motive in the Dec. 25 killing of Christopher Watson, 26, who was gunned down in his Scion tC at North Broad and Bienville streets about 9:50 p.m. as he made his way to work at a nearby New Orleans Regional Transit Authority maintenance shed.
But police believe members of the public can help.
Homicide Detective Robert Barrere said surveillance video shows several cars passing by the scene of the shooting at a busy intersection near a Whole Foods Market and a Dollar General. At least 15 rounds were fired at Watson, meaning someone likely noticed the commotion.
“I know somebody knows something. Somebody was driving down the street,” said Watson’s widow, Dominique. “Could you please call? ... It would mean everything to me. That man was my world.”
Barrere said police want to interview the driver of a dark, late-model sedan seen on surveillance video speeding away from the scene. Police released a still image of the car on Thursday and said that after flying away from the scene, the possibly maroon-colored vehicle continued downriver on North Broad Street, then took a right onto Orleans Avenue toward North Galvez Street.
“At this time, we don’t have a definite motive,” Barrere said. “Christopher Watson was a hard-working guy. He had no criminal history. Just going to work.”
Dominique Watson said her husband was passionate about his job with the RTA and did double duty as an auto mechanic on the West Bank to support their goal of raising a family together.
Watson and her husband did not exchange Christmas presents this year, she said, because they felt they already had everything they needed. But he did fry fish for their whole family.
The Watsons kissed each other as he left for work, and she put a plate of food on the side for when he returned.
Dominique Watson said she knew something was wrong when her husband never called to say he had arrived at the RTA maintenance facility, as was their routine.
Watson used an online application to track her husband’s cellphone to the intersection of North Broad and Bienville streets. When she drove to the scene and saw blue lights swirling, she said, she told herself, “Lord, just let it be a car accident.”
Crimestoppers President and CEO Darlene Cusanza said it was “very disheartening” that her organization had not received a single tip about Watson’s killing.
Police asked anyone with information to call Barrere, the detective, at (504) 658-5300. Crimestoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information and may be reached at (504) 822-1111.