N.O. man found slain in Garden District apartment

Victim found  in apartment

“He was a hard worker. Very laid back. He had an incredible personality. He was very likable.” Joseph Zara, landlord

A man was found dead from a gunshot wound to his head inside a ransacked Lower Garden District apartment early Friday.

About 1 a.m., police responded to a call from the 2000 block of Prytania Street, just near the corner of Josephine Street. They discovered 33-year-old Ahmad Sheppard in the living room. He was declared dead on the scene, Officer Frank Robertson, a New Orleans Police Department spokesman, said. The case is being investigated as a homicide.

The victim’s white 2008 Jeep Cherokee, Louisiana license plate WPR 618, was missing after the shooting, Robertson said.

Joseph Zara said Sheppard, who was his tenant, rented from him for about three years and lived by himself.

But, Zara said, Sheppard was not killed in his own apartment, but in a neighboring unit, where another man lived.

“How he ended up in there, I don’t know,” Zara said. “It doesn’t make sense. Why he was murdered doesn’t make sense either.”

Zara said he knew the other apartment’s occupant only by the name “Will.” That man called Zara about 1 a.m. to let him know about the killing. Will signed a lease to live there alone but might have had another person living there, Zara said.

John Gauthier, who lives across the street, said he did not hear any noise come from the apartment overnight.

“It’s pretty unusual in this little area,” he said.

Zara said he did not know if Will was in the apartment when the shooting happened and that he did not question him about details.

“He tried to tell me, but I told him not to,” Zara said.

Zara said detectives who began to probe the killing questioned the man.

“I would think that would be normal protocol,” Zara said.

Police did not immediately identify any suspects in Sheppard’s death, though they did return to the home shortly after sunrise to tow a white Dodge Charger.

A screen door on the apartment where Sheppard was found appeared to be broken at the top, though police did not say if the unit was broken into or if the gunman was let inside.

Zara said Sheppard worked as a host in the V.I.P. section of a Bourbon Street strip club.

“He was a hard worker. Very laid back,” Zara said. “He had an incredible personality. He was very likable.”

Zara said he last spoke to Sheppard when he paid his rent earlier this month. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. If anything, he was in a better mood than usual.

“He seemed more mellow, more content,” Zara said. “Life’s weird, huh?”

Homicide Detective Tanisha Sykes is leading the investigation.