A man wielding a shotgun was shot to death Friday night, police said, outside from a South Claiborne Avenue bar at Louisiana Avenue that has been the site of deadly shootings at least twice before in recent memory.
The victim was 25 years old, said NOPD Officer Garry Flot. Around 9:45 p.m., he drove up to the parking lot of the businesses near Claiborne and Louisiana and got out of his car with a shotgun, pointing it a man he knew, Flot said.
The second man pulled a handgun and shot him, and the wounded man got back into his car and began to drive off, but his car rolled into the neutral ground nearby and stopped, Flot said. The man was found dead in the car, Flot said.
The shooter, who was also 25 years old, was questioned by detectives and released, Flot said, and the District Attorney’s office will review the case. Both his handgun and the slain man’s shotgun were recovered, and police are investigating their origin, Flot said.
[Update: The slain man was later identified as 25-year-old Benjamin Valteau, and his father said that the man he threatened was a friend of his that he was just probably trying to scare, according to a report by Adriane Quinlan of The Times-Picayune. Valteau is also a distant relative of former Orleans Parish Civil Sheriff Paul Valteau, Quinlan reports.]
During the investigation, onlookers gasped as investigators retrieved a pump-action shotgun from near the vehicle where the victim was found and placed it into evidence.
One nearby business owner said he was closing up shop, when he and employees heard five or six shots from outside.
“We heard the shots and by the time we came outside, we saw the car in the neutral ground,” the man said.
In late 2011, 61-year-old Curtis Matthews was shot to death outside the Jazz Daiquiri club at the same corner that he was running for his brother, John Matthews. John Matthews, in turn, had been a witness in a 2008 killing near the shop, and Curtis Matthews’ death was believed to be in retaliation for John Matthews’ cooperation with police in convicting Telly Hankton.