New Orleans police believe a pregnant woman and her boyfriend who were gunned down in their car earlier this week were likely targeted by their killers, an official said Friday.
Breon Stewart, 23, and Lionel Delpit III, 25, were shot several times outside their eastern New Orleans apartment Wednesday night. Police said they don’t believe it was a random shooting. Stewart was due to give birth in less than two weeks.
“It was senseless,” Kioke Johnson, a cousin of Stewart, told The Times-Picayune.
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.
Lewis told WUVE-TV that Delpit was “all about his family.”
"Gave his life to God. Anybody who ever knew him knew he always kept a smile on his face,” he added.
Delpit was a Mardi Gras Indian Chief and the son of well-known big chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian Tribe. Stewart was valedictorian of her high school and earned a nursing degree in college.
Crimestopppers urged the public Friday to come forward with any information regarding the murders of Stewart, Delpit and the unborn child and announced a larger reward for anything leading to an arrest.
“To think that someone could take not only the adult lives, but to do this when they had an innocent baby involved, you know, it’s just heartbreaking, really heart breaking, Crimestoppers President Darlene Cusanza said.
Crimestoppers doubled the reward from $2,500 to $5,000 and the organization is hoping the larger reward with lead to a quicker arrest.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.