NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A pregnant woman and her boyfriend who were gunned down in their car earlier this week were likely targeted by their killers, a police official said. The couple's baby was due in less than two weeks.
Breon Stewart, 23, and Lionel Delpit III, 25, were shot multiple times outside their eastern New Orleans apartment Wednesday night. Police say they don't believe the shooting was random.
"It was senseless," Kioke Johnson, a cousin of Stewart, told NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/1NCikFL).
Corey Rayford said conversations with his cousin Delpit were dominated by the impending birth of his son, who was to be named after Delpit.
"He was so excited about being a dad," Rayford said. "All he talked about was the baby."
Keenan Lewis, cornerback with the New Orleans Saints and Delpit's brother-in-law, was among family and friends of the victims who gathered Thursday to comfort each other.
WVUE-TV (http://bit.ly/1Nu7jbD) quoted Lewis as saying that Delpit was "all about his family, you know."
"Gave his life to God. Anybody who ever knew him knew he always kept a smile on his face."
The investigation continues. Cmdr. Doug Eckert, head of the New Orleans Police Department's criminal investigations division, said it appears the couple were targeted. Detectives are not sure whether there were multiple shooters, Eckert said.
Police classified the deaths as a double homicide, and are waiting for an official autopsy report before deciding whether to add another charge in connection with the death of the couple's unborn child. The child was due on Dec. 29.
Johnson said she can't imagine why someone would want to kill her cousin.
"We just want the community to come together if they know anything," she said. "We just want justice."
Stewart's twin sister gave birth to a daughter last week, and Johnson said the whole family had been awaiting the latest addition to the family with excitement.
Stewart was attending college, working on her nursing degree. Delpit worked two jobs and was the little chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, which his father and other family members started in the early 1990s. Rayford said his cousin was being groomed to become the tribe's chief after his father's death in 2011.
"He never had a chance to put on a suit and go out as active chief," said tribe member Stafford Agee.