A West Bank family's patriarch was shot to death at his Subway restaurant in Gentilly on Wednesday night, according to officials and his relatives.
Family friend Anada Abdelfattah identified the man who was fatally shot in the 2100 block of Caton Street as Adnan Alasar, whose survivors include a wife and three children.
Abdelfattah said Alasar didn't deserve the fate he met and that his family remained in shock the following morning.
"He was a good man, a good husband, and a good father," Abdelfattah said of Alasar, who was originally from the Middle Eastern nation of Syria but had laid roots down in the Jefferson Parish community of Gretna.
Authorities haven't confirmed Alasar's identity. But they said a man wielding a gun entered a business owned by Alasar about 7:30 p.m. before two gunshots rang out.
The gunman fled before New Orleans paramedics arrived to take the wounded man to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Alasar's death left an employee at a barbershop neighboring the Subway shaken. The employee, who didn't want to be identified, said Alasar's children were all younger than 12.
He learned Alasar stepped out of his restaurant after he had been shot and flung himself onto the hood of a passing car in a bid to get help for himself.
"We saw him stretched out. ... I heard the paramedics say he had a pulse. They were still pumping his chest when they put him in the (ambulance)," the barbershop employee said.
Alasar owned at least two other Subways — one in Carrollton and the other near City Park. New Orleans city records show he had permits to operate at least three taxicabs, one each with Veterans Cab, Elk's Elite and Patio Cab.
The barbershop employee said Alasar's business acumen and kind-hearted nature was obvious to him.
"He was the best person, the best owner I've ever known," the employee said of Alasar, who was at his Gentilly shop a few times a week. "Everybody loved him. ... I had to tell him, 'Please stop giving your food away.'"
On Thursday morning, dozens of friends and family members stopped by Alasar's home in the Stonebridge subdivision to offer their condolences to his grieving family. At one point, roughly 30 people filled the home’s foyer and living room, each one pausing to hug and console Alasar’s wife as they entered.
Alasar’s wife, who asked that her name not be used, said her husband had come home from working a morning shift at the store earlier in the day on Wednesday, and that he had returned to check on the business a little after 6 p.m.
A little while later, she received a call from a family friend who owns a business near the Subway telling her that her husband had been shot.
“They tell me they shot him, but I didn’t know if he was alive,” she said, still visibly shaken. The couple, both from Syria, had been married for 13 years, and have two sons, ages 11 and 8, and a 10-year-old daughter, the woman said.
Another family friend who also asked to stay anonymous, recalled Alasar as a kind-hearted family man, who worked tirelessly to provide for his wife and children.
“He was so good, so kind – he tried to help everybody,” the friend said, pausing to wipe away tears. “He was the best for his kids and taking care of them. He was a family man.”
Police on Thursday said they couldn't comment on whether investigators suspect the motive for the attack was robbery. A friend of Alasar's said the business owner had on several occasions advised employees of his to never fight or argue in the event of an armed robbery, and to always comply with their assailant's demands.
"He would say,' just give them what they want, and be safe'," the friend recalled.
Subway Development Agent Jeff Morlier issued a statement Thursday morning lamenting Alasar's killing.
"We're shocked and deeply saddened by this devastating news," Morlier's statement said. "The owner was a dedicated franchisee and member of the New Orleans community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his employees."
The Muslim Academy in Gretna, where two of Alasar's children are students, issued a similar statement.
"Our thoughts and prayers (are) with his wife, children and loved (ones). To Allah we belong and to him we shall return," the school's statement said.
Check back with The New Orleans Advocate for any details.