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French Quarter restaurant owner gunned down in Marigny backyard after work, family says

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2021 at 11:23 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A French Quarter restaurant owner was fatally shot in the backyard of his Marigny home, just two days after his eatery’s grand opening, and family members say they want answers.

“We’re not going to allow our family member to be treated like another statistic in that city,” said Jeremy Alexander Simms, a cousin of the slain 48-year-old Richard “Snapper” Washington.

Washington was shot just after 7:30 p.m. Sunday night, in the 2200 block of Burgundy. His family fears in the midst of all the violence New Orleans experienced over the weekend, his case may be forgotten.

“I just kept saying ‘you’re doing a really good job, keep breathing, you’re doing excellent, they’re coming, they’re coming, they’re on their way’,” a neighbor described.

This neighbor held a towel to the back of Washington’s head as they waited for EMS. He was still on his bike when she found him, just getting home from work.

She heard one gunshot ring out and saw a man in a hoodie, she now realizes may have been the shooter, leave Washington’s backyard.

“My neighbor was like ‘hey man, you ok?’ and he was like ‘yeah, I’m fine’ and was super casual and casually walked away,” the neighbor said.

Washington would die just after 11 p.m. from a gunshot to the back of his head according to his daughter Alexis Dickson, but she didn’t get the call he was even in the hospital until 2:30 in the morning and didn’t get to speak to a doctor for another hour.

“He told me that he didn’t make it, it wasn’t survivable,” Dickson said.

Washington was an entrepreneur, starting his own chicken wing chain, Wing Taxi, in his Shreveport garage.

“I remember riding around Shreveport with him, just dropping off these orders and just seeing how hard he worked,” Dickson said. “At the time, as a kid, I didn’t really take it all in or the lessons in like I should have.”

Now Dickson is an entrepreneur herself.

“I hate that he’s not able to see, you know, ‘Daddy, yeah, I listened to you and I heard everything that you said, I didn’t take it in back then but you know now I understand’,” she said as she broke down into tears.

Snapper chased his dreams from state to state, opening up new locations along the way. That journey stopped after he moved to the Marigny to open up his New Orleans locations. He just opened Wing Taxi on Toulouse on Friday.

“He’s doing it the right way, getting up every day, working for something, trying to build something, trying to establish something in the city, you know, and wanting to embrace the culture by moving here,” Alexander Simms said.

His family and friends never expected anything like this to happen to such a hard-working and honest man who only wanted to teach others.

“He was not a nobody,” best friend, Patrick Stewart said. “He was truly a somebody who gave of himself, and because he gave of himself, he made and built others up.”

His friends and family have been trying to track down any information they can and have been coming up empty-handed.

They feel like someone was watching when he left work and someone else was waiting for him at home.

The neighbor says she feels like the gunman was already in his backyard and she says police have video of a different man she didn’t see peeking over the fence.

“They thought that they were just taking the life of a nobody and that’s not who he was, he meant so many things to so many people we love him and we just want the work done to find out who did this,” Stewart said.

NOPD is investigating and urges anyone with any information to call CrimeStoppers and leave an anonymous tip.

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