On what would have been her son’s 27th birthday, Angela Willis stood at the Hollygrove intersection where David Anthony Simon Jr. was gunned down in front of his 4-year-old daughter nearly six months ago and begged for anyone with information to help New Orleans police find his killer.
Simon was walking in the 8700 block of Pritchard Place (near Monroe Street) around 5 p.m. Feb. 28 when he was fatally shot, police said at the time. Simon was picking up his 4-year-old daughter from nursery school, and when the gunfire began, Simon “yelled for his daughter to run to safety,” and he was found dead afterward, according to the Silence is Violence advocacy group.
“She didn’t deserve to see her father taken away from her in front of her face,” said NOPD Homicide Detective Tanisha Sykes. “That was just really cruel and ruthless, and I just feel even more pressed to try to solve this case.”
On Thursday evening, nearly 50 people joined Willis, Sykes and members of Silence is Violence at the corner where Simon was gunned down to urge anyone with information to help police find Simon’s killer. CrimeStoppers is anonymous, Willis said, but city officials must still do more to make community members feel safe sharing information.
“People don’t feel safe coming forward, and they need to feel safe. Nobody wants to say anything because they don’t want to be retaliated against,” Willis said. “We have to start somewhere. Somebody has to step up and say something.”
The reward for information in Simon’s death has been increased to $5,000, Sykes said. Anyone with information is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 822-1111 to leave an anonymous tip that could be eligible for the reward.