73-year-old tourist beaten to death, suspect arrested in St. Charles Avenue hotel

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(via NOPD)

A 73-year-old man from Missouri was killed Thursday night (Dec. 1) in a hotel on St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District, the New Orleans Police Department reported. A suspect was taken into custody at the scene.

At 10:54 p.m., Sixth District officers responded to a call from Avenue Plaza Hotel employees that someone had pulled the fire alarm and gained access to a room on the sixth floor. They found an unresponsive man on the floor in the hotel room with visible injuries to his head.

The Emergency Medical Service took the victim to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office identified the victim as David Sorenson, 73. Sorenson died from blunt force injuries.

Police said Sorenson was visiting New Orleans with his wife, who had escaped into the bathroom before the attack and was not injured.

Sorenson was a retired financial adviser who was active in promoting blues music, including fundraising efforts the Killer Blues Headstone project, which provides headstones for musicians in unmarked graves, Missy Wilkinson reported on NOLA.com. He leaves behind his wife of more than 50 years and their four children.

Responding officers apprehended Martin Hurtado, 29, and determined he was not registered at the hotel. Upon further questioning, NOPD Homicide Unit detectives obtained an arrest warrant on one count of second-degree murder.

Police do not believe Hurtado had any previous connection to the victim or to the hotel, the NOPD said. WWL-TV reported that that Hurtado worked at a nearby restaurant and had been drinking that night. Reporter Mike Perlstein called the killing, as described in a police report, a “bizarre and random act of violence.”

Hurtado was booked into the Orleans Parish Justice Center, where he remained Friday on $350,000 bond.

The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office will determine the cause of death and release the victim’s name upon completion of an autopsy and notification of his family.

No additional information was immediately available. Homicide Detective Miles Guirreri is leading the ongoing investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Homicide Unit at 504-658-5300 or call Crimestoppers anonymously at 504-822-1111.

Editor’s note: This report updated Dec. 2 after the NOPD released more information on the crime, the victim and the suspect. It was updated again on Dec. 6 as more information was revealed. Also, the victim’s age was corrected: He was 73, not 75.

One thought on “73-year-old tourist beaten to death, suspect arrested in St. Charles Avenue hotel

  1. I grew up coming to New Orleans many times a year. Sometimes my parents would take us for a weekend lunch and to enjoy the many artists in Jackson Square. My mother was a native New Orleans daughter. Throughout my adult life, I have continued my love of the many areas in and around the city. I no longer feel safe there. To read of this heinous crime in the Garden District is shocking. I so enjoy Magazine Street and its locally owned shops, restaurants and bakeries. I will miss them.

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