NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans police are investigating a murder outside a troubled Uptown bar, not far from the universities.
Tuesday, neighbors laid flowers at the scene of last night's killing in the 5100 block of Freret Street. That's where 19-year old Errol Joseph Meeks lost his life.
'We heard three gunshots in a row and my housemate and I looked at each other in disbelief, like did somebody just get shot?' said Freret Street neighbor Nolan Storey. 'A few minutes later we went outside to see what happened and the guy was lying in the street.'
Police say Meeks was leaving the bar Friar Tucks when suddenly shots rang out. They found him with a gunshot to the head.
'It's going to be hard,' said Meeks' aunt Keyonna Brown. 'He never did nothing to nobody.'
Police say Meeks had a minor arrest a couple of years ago. But, family members say he got his life together and was enrolling in a job training program.
'Why, for no reason,' said Brown. 'I don't understand. I keep telling myself why.'
The murder happened outside a bar already on the city's radar screen.
Friar Tucks was cited this summer for serving underage drinkers.
'There were a tremendous amount people underage in there at the time that we reviewed it,' said New Orleans Alcohol Control Board member Robert Jenkins. 'That's what the issue was and they were found guilty of it and we suspended their license.'
The suspension was supposed to begin this month, but the bar remained open while the owner appealed the board's ruling.
'I don't understand why a 19 year old was there in the first place either because that was the whole point of the last ABO finding is that they let children in, under 21,' said Councilwoman Stacy Head.
Friar Tucks owner Jason Blitch announced in light of the shooting, he was voluntarily shutting down the bar.
Head said she knows that the owner plans to close the bar, but she said she would still like the city to take some steps to make sure Friar Tucks never reopens.
'If Friar Tucks can't operate properly and within the law, we're going to have to take the necessary steps as a city and close it down and hopefully someone else will come in and operate that establishment in a way that benefits the community rather than pulls it down,' said Head.
Police are still looking for suspects in the Freret Street shooting.
Blitch issued the following statement:
'The person who was shot and killed last night was not a lawless individual. He was a friendly neighborhood gentleman.
'I agree this type of publicity is negative for everyone involved. The actions that occurred last night can not be blamed on anyone except the person who pulled the trigger. We have viewed the films with law personnel and can not identify the shooter since he has never been in or at the establishment before.
'I have taken it upon myself to close Friar Tucks. I believe this is the best action to be taken. Please understand I have never intentionally broken the law or have I intentionally done anything to harm this neighborhood. Friar Tucks Bar is ceasing operations immediately due to the fact that we can no longer operate successfully.
'I would also like to say that the individual that was shot was a very good person. He would come by and play pool. He never started any trouble and just drink pineapple juice and played pool. His actions were not unlawful. He never acted in any manner for us to believe otherwise. Someone called him on his phone to come outside and shot him. It is a sad loss. The troublemakers and the shooter live in and grew up in the neighborhood. Immediately after last nights shooting a car involved was found on Carondelet Street where another shooting occurred.
'This situation disgusts me more than you will ever imagine. I have a female employee who stayed outside holding the victims head until EMS arrived. These are all reasons I have decided to close. Changing the image and reputation of Freret St. goes further than what any business can do. The neighborhood as a whole needs to be changed. I will again apologize for any and all problems that fellow business owners believe I have caused to Freret St.'