LOCKPORT, La. -- What began as a block party at a Lockport apartment complex ended with the apparent stabbing deaths of Jacqueline Nieves and her two young daughters, Gabriella and Isabella.
This, according to the victims’ next-door neighbor, Leroy Hebert, who was left shaken by the tragedy -- and haunted by the mysterious man who showed up at the party, and is now a suspect in the killings.
"I didn't know him at all," Hebert said, referring the suspect, David Brown of Houma.
Hebert said Brown, who knew another neighbor, watched the LSU game and drank with a group of people at the complex Saturday night.
At one point in the evening, Brown suddenly appeared inside Hebert’s apartment, and approached his wife in their bedroom.
"She cursed him out -- 'what are you doing in our apartment?' -- and I looked up, seen (Brown), he was running out of the apartment and that was it," Hebert said.
The next day, Hebert learned about the killings and that authorities were questioning Jacqueline’s husband and the children’s father, Carlos.
Hebert said he went straight to Lafourche investigators with his disturbing story.
"I said first of all, y'all need to release (Carlos). He has nothing to do with this. He loved those kids too much. There's no way in the world this man could do that," he said.
What happened between Hebert’s alleged encounter with Brown and the murders is unclear.
Hebert said other neighbors told him Brown went to a local bar with a group of people, including Carlos, while Jacqueline stayed home with the girls.
According to neighbors, Hebert said, Brown abruptly left the bar, while the Carlos and the others stayed.
Authorities arrested Brown in connection with the incident at Hebert's apartment, and officials say they expect to bring charges stemming from the murder.
Officials say Brown has an extensive and violent criminal history, although they haven’t released specifics yet.
According to Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre, investigators have gathered "compelling evidence," which they believe ties Brown to the killings.
As the investigation continues, meanwhile, neighbors are paying respects near the crime scene with handwritten signs, stuffed animals and flowers.
Chris Beirs, a pastor at the church across the street, said the tragedy has left a major impact on Lockport.
"I mean, it's unfathomable that such a thing could happen in a small community like this and all the people, whether you knew them or not, are hurting," she said.