MARRERO, La. - On a cold, clear morning in Marrero, the flag draped casket carrying the body of Sergeant Joseph Anderson was being transferred on to a hearse. Military members dressed in uniform loaded the casket as members of the Louisiana Patriot Guard riders stood silently saluting.
It would be a similar scene for any service member killed in action, but Sgt. Anderson wasn't killed in Iraq where he served two combat tours. He was killed in his hometown of Marrero, a victim of a car-jacking on New Year's Day.
"It's such a waste, and so ironic in a way that in a way that he had two combat tours came back fine, had honorable service and then a victim of a crime," said Mike Oliver, a Patriot Guard Rider.
Sergeant Anderson was killed outside the home of his in-laws. Investigators with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office say Anderson dropped off his three children and was about to drive away when he was shot in the head. His body was discovered a short while later when a passerby noticed Anderson's body lying in the drive way. The SUV Anderson was driving was recovered roughly two miles from the scene of the car-jacking.
Investigators say the car was ransacked but Anderson still had most of his personal effects on his person when he died. Authorities have no suspects at this time but say they are working on potential leads.
Outside of the funeral home, the roar of the motorcycles the Patriot Guard Riders are best known for could be heard from far away. Sergeant Anderson's loved ones tearfully embraced before embarking on the 95 mile drive to Biloxi National Cemetery where the veteran of 12 years was buried. The Patriot Guard Riders escorted the hearse the entire way. Anderson was on holiday leave when he was killed. His family says he was planning to be discharged from the Army in February. Anderson leaves behind three children. Jefferson Parish Sheriff's investigators urge anyone with information to call them or Crime Stoppers at 504-822-1111.