NEW ORLEANS - Three people were killed in the Tulane Avenue shooting. In addition to Zachary Nelson, the other two have been identified as 24-year-old Aaron Melton and 25-year-old Larry King.
Nelson's friends say they had been at a party for ten minutes when gunfire broke out and Zachary got caught in the crossfire.
Now one of his friends who was at his side talks about what happened and why they felt it was time to leave the city they loved.
As 21-year-old Zachary Nelson's family lays out his burial suit, they make sure the shirt and tie let everyone know he was a former St. Aug Purple Night.
They say he was a person who would do anything for anyone at anytime. He was an honor student, polite gentleman, and hard worker for everything he earned, with a strong Christian faith. His goal was to be a neurosurgeon one day.
His friend, Brandon Williams, was at his side when they just stopped by a birthday party at an event hall in the 3700 block of Tulane Avenue. That's when he said two guys began to fight, then shots began to fly.
"He was like, 'Man, that's Zach in the street, like that's Zach in the street,'" Williams said a friend told him. "And I looked up from the car and he was like on the, literally, on the other side of the car we was ducked behind."
Zach had just told his childhood friend he had a plan to leave the city because of the violence.
"He had like the blueprints to us getting out the city. Like we used to talk about this all the time man. He used to tell me, 'Man save your money bro. Bro we going to invest our money and we going to move.' Like two days before the party we was talking 'bout man we going, we gotta either move to Miami or L.A. We gotta get, so we gotta get away from this city just for stuff like that," he remembers.
He said kids today want to be considered a "gansta." He said no matter how young they are, it's very easy to get a gun in New Orleans with no consideration about using it, without training and in big crowds.
"Whenever there is a conflict, don't matter what it is. They just think they should use it."
Brandon was Zach's friend since the second grade. They were Purple Knights together. And he says he wants to wake up and see that it was all a nightmare, but he said he knows it's not because they have been to so many parties where shootings happen, and it is time for change.
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