NEW ORLEANS — A 52-year-old New Orleans woman was fatally shot Sunday night as she was on her way to deliver groceries to her elderly in-laws in New Orleans East, according to a report by our partners at The Times Picayune/New Orleans Advocate.
Anita Leviege was driving around the corner from her in-laws' home near Morrison Road and Martin Drive around 5:30 p.m. in the Kenilworth neighborhood of New Orleans East when two men, including one holding a rifle, walked in front of her car and shots were fired, law enforcement sources told the paper. The same sources said Leviege screamed into her cellphone while talking to one of her in-laws before the line went quiet.
According to the paper, the man with the rifle fired several times, hitting the driver's side of Leviege’s car at least twice. Leviege drove away before crashing into another vehicle near the 7200 block of Morrison Road.
Leviege was hit at least once and so was a small dog riding in the passenger seat, according to the report. When emergency responders arrived, they discovered Leviege and the dog had both died, the report said.
The New Orleans Police Department is asking for the public’s help in finding and identifying two persons of interest in the homicide. On Sunday, they released a picture of two unidentified people. Police say they are not wanted but are needed for questioning in the investigation.
According to WWLTV investigator Mike Perlstein, detectives are checking video to see if they can link Leviege’s homicide to carjacking that happened in the same area near the Laguna Run apartment.
The theory being that Leviege’s homicide was an unsuccessful carjacking attempt followed by a successful one an hour later.
In a dark sign of the times, crime lab and homicide detectives were still working at the Morrison Rd. homicide when they got the call about the nearby carjacking, where it was reported two people, one with a rifle, had forced a woman to surrender her sedan to them before fleeing the scene.
At the scene of the crime Tuesday, neighbors were frustrated and saddened by Leviege’s killing.
“My response to it is... It's ridiculous,” said one neighbor who asked not to be identified. “We have to have more police presence in the 7th district of New Orleans. They know this is a hot spot.”
There were more than 190 murders in New Orleans in 2020, up 61% from 2019.
Non-fatal shootings were up 65% and carjacking's up a staggering 126%.
Local pastor Lester Love with City of Love Church says crimes like these can be solved if people come forward with information.
“Someone knows something,” said Love, “whether it’s in the barber shop, beauty salon or some other family member who understands that when it happens like this you could very well be next.”
The NOPD has stopped short of saying the two crimes are related but are asking for anyone with information on Leviege’s murder can call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.