Matthew Squyres mug shot

Matthew Squyres, via St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office

St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office investigators on Monday arrested a man accused of fatally shooting a longtime employee of the popular Bourbon Street bar Tropical Isle inside the victim’s Chalmette home two days earlier.

Matthew Squyres, 35, faces a count of second-degree murder in Saturday night’s slaying in the 3600 block of Shangri-La Drive, the Sheriff’s Office said.

It was the first homicide reported in St. Bernard this year.

While the Sheriff’s Office didn’t name the victim, a social media post from a Tropical Isle co-owner identified him as Larry Hill, 56.

The Sheriff's Office said Squyres and the victim knew each other, and the killing resulted from “a prior altercation.” Details about the dispute weren’t immediately available.

The Sheriff’s Office said it received a call about a shooting at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. When deputies arrived, they spotted bullet holes in a window of the home.

Deputies called out for anyone who might be there to come to the door; they forced their way inside when no one answered, the Sheriff’s Office said. They found the victim lying on the floor with multiple bullet wounds. 

According to a Facebook post from Pam Fortner, who co-owns Tropical Isle with Earl Bernhardt, Hill is from New Jersey. He joined Tropical Isle’s staff after moving to New Orleans roughly three decades ago.

“Larry is well-known to the French Quarter and had become Earl’s right-hand man and very important to our businesses,” the post said. “Larry was a gentleman and would help folks who needed help and he was jovial (and) said 'hi' to friends up and down the streets of the French Quarter.”

Fortner said Hill’s funeral would be in his New Jersey hometown and that she would release details once they are finalized.

“I am sad that Larry will not be around any more with his smile,” said the post from Fortner, who helped start Tropical Isle at the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans before the business added a string of related bars and music venues along Bourbon.

Without elaborating, the Sheriff’s Office said that investigators determined Squyres was the killer and arrested him Monday in Chalmette. It said he confessed to the murder after deputies took him into custody.

Bail for Squyres — a resident of New Orleans East, according to officials — had not been set as of Monday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Monday was not Squyres’ first brush with the law. New Orleans court records show he has at least a pair of illegal drug possession arrests dating back several years. Charges were refused for one of those cases; the other led to a stint on probation. 

Online public records suggest he has worked as a roofer. 


Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.