Murdered kids' sports coach was trying to make N.O. better say friends

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 24, 2012 at 10:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 25 at 1:15 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- A Covington family is mourning the loss of their 57-year-old husband and father shot and killed in New Orleans East on Tuesday morning.

Police say Bruce Cucchiara died at the hospital after an apparent armed robbery in the 4500 block of Papania Drive.

Close friends of the Covington man say he was working to make things better in the Crescent City.

"He and Mike are my two best friends. Bruce was my best man in my wedding. I was best man in his wedding. Godfather to his oldest son," said Les Heidelberg, who added that family, life-long childhood friends and a sense of community helped guide Cucchiara on life's journey.

"Bruce coached baseball, basketball, soccer, football. Not too many people do that. He gave so much to Covington. He gave so much to his kids. He was a family man," added Heidelberg.

This autumn Cucchiara was getting ready to walk his daughter down the aisle and welcome another grandchild into the world. On Tuesday those dreams came to an abrupt end in a New Orleans East parking lot.

"They have to do something about the crime over in New Orleans East. When someone is going over there to buy a building to make it a better place and they get murdered in the process of doing it, that's insane to me," said Heidelberg.

NOPD says the 57-year-old was shot during an armed robbery near his truck. Detectives spent the day searching for clues and interviewing witnesses. Friends and eyewitnesses confirm that the real estate speculator had stopped to ask for directions trying to track down a nearby address.

"The landlord says he came knocked and asked for directions. She was going to go walk him out, but something hold her no, and that's when she heard gunshots," said Katrina, a resident at the apartment complex who asked to be identified by her first name only.

A violent crime that has taken a husband, father, grandfather and close friend away from those who love and will miss him the most.

"One thing that I'll always remember is that each of us: Les, Bruce, and I we helped each other achieve our goals, achieve our dreams. We're going to miss him. Covington is going to miss a good man," added Mayor Mike Cooper, also a close friend of Cucchiara's.

Bruce's friends say his wallet and phone were missing from the crime scene. Anyone with information on this murder is asked to call Crimestoppers at 822-1111.

You can leave an anonymous tip and could receive a cash reward of up to $2,500.

 

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