NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans police detectives are investigating their first homicide of the year after a man was gunned down in St. Roch.
For residents living in the community, it was a disheartening start to 2014 with renewed calls to end the violence.
"We were all out there watching," Lashonda Temple said.
Flashing blue police lights, crime tape and the Orleans Parish coroner's van is what families in one St. Roch neighborhood woke up to on New Year's Day.
Temple was one of the on-lookers.
"A lot of people were like, it's sad because it's the first day of new year's and they're already killing and stuff," Temple said.
A neighbor who didn't want to go on camera said she opened her front door around 10 a.m. and discovered a man lying unresponsive on the sidewalk. The NOPD said the unidentified man was shot in the chest.
Neighbors tell Eyewitness News he was likely not from the neighborhood.
"We don't know what's going to happen. We don't know if we can be safe, just walk out the door and something like this happens. That just put fear in my heart," said Temple.
"We have seen some change, that being said, there's still a long way to go," said Pastor J.B. Watkins with St Roch Community Church.
On Wednesday night inside the church, Pastor Watkins prepared for bible study. Just a few blocks away the city's first murder of the year unfolded in the 2300 block of North Prieur earlier in the day.
"The fact that a person has lost their life. Someone perhaps has lost a family member. Whoever perpetrated the crime has thrown their life away if justice prevails. It's really sad to hear about it," said Pastor Watkins.
Next month St. Roch Community Church will celebrates its seventh anniversary. Nearly a decade ago choosing to convert an old convenience store into a place of faith to help combat crime in the area. While detectives investigate another homicide, Pastor Watkins stresses changing the tide of violence is everyone's responsibility.
"We can't rely on one particular entity whether, it's the government alone or the community alone. The faith community. I think we all have a part to play," said Pastor Watkins.
If you can help homicide detectives solve this case, call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.