NEW ORLEANS -- The AmeriCorps community is grieving after an 18-year-old volunteer was shot and killed Monday night in New Orleans.
The federal program confirms that Joe Massenburg came to town in mid-March hoping to make a difference in New Orleans with AmeriCorps.
The teen from Illinois was murdered two nights ago, leaving the volunteer community in shock.
"There are thousands of AmeriCorps members here to serve their communities. Sad day to have mourn one of our own," said Whitney Soenksen, president of the AmeriCorps Alumni New Orleans chapter.
New Orleans police say the 18-year-old was gunned down walking and talking on his cell phone near the intersection of Eagle and Birch streets in the West Carrollton neighborhood.
The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps says Massenburg was working with local sponsor Greenlight New Orleans, which works to promote energy efficiency across the city. Massenburg was shot and killed just blocks from where that organization is located.
AmeriCorps says volunteers work and live near their sponsors.
Kate Raftery, director of AmeriCorps NCCC issued this statement:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Massenburg family. This young man was serving his country, making a difference through service to others. His death is a tragic loss for his family, his friends, and our program. The safety of our members is a top priority. We work closely with local partners to provide a safe environment for all of our members in which to serve and live."
Eyewitness News has learned that 18 members of Joe's team were sent to Mississippi for grief counseling and support. AmeriCorps NCCC says the plan is to have those volunteers return to New Orleans at some point.
This story was developed with our partners at The Uptown Messenger.