Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
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HAMMOND, La. -- A Northshore community is mourning the death of a popular business owner.

The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of 63-year-old Mary Alvarez, who was found Wednesday evening at her gardening shop in Hammond.

Family members were full of tears and hugs Thursday, while close friends were trying to wrap their heads around what happened to Alvarez, described as a hard worker who cared for loved ones and strangers.

'We just don't know what to think,' said Ann Wallace.

Eyewitness News spoke with Alvarez's husband at their home in Hammond. He said he found his wife with a gunshot wound to the head. Vic Alvarez said detectives questioned him about the incident for hours last night.

Authorities aren't giving very many details about the incident, and won't say if they believe someone shot her or if she shot herself. The sheriff's office says it can't make any determinations or rule anything out until an autopsy is complete.

Other family members and friends say Alvarez was an angel on earth.

'Mary was the best person that I've ever known,' said cousin Linda Armstrong.

'She was the sweetest person you would ever want to meet,' Wallace said.

Most people in the Hammond area, who knew Alvarez as customers or fellow business owners, are both saddened and stunned.

'The community is kind of upset with what had happened,' said Jeffery LaMarca.

Alvarez's husband tells Eyewitness News he was questioned by authorities for hours last night.

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