Tourist killed in St. Charles Avenue hotel was victim of random violence, NOPD says

A tourist from Missouri was killed inside his hotel room on Dec. 1
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 6:25 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -- The brutal murder of a 73-year-old tourist last week inside his hotel room on St. Charles Avenue is considered by New Orleans police to have been a random act of violence, court documents show.

Fox 8 obtained the court documents submitted with the arrest of 29-year-old Martin Hurtado, who was booked last Thursday (Dec. 1) with second-degree murder after being caught inside the dead man’s room in the Avenue Plaza Hotel.

The victim -- identified as David Sorenson -- was visiting New Orleans along with his wife. The Missouri tourists had no known connection with Hurtado before he forced his way into their hotel room and beat Sorenson to death, investigators wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit.

According to the court documents, detectives spoke with the victim’s wife, who said she and her husband were sleeping when they awoke around 11 p.m. to the sound of the hotel’s fire alarm.

She told police someone knocked on the door of their room No. 612. When she opened it, she told police, Hurtado pushed her into the room and followed her in.

“I’m not here. Don’t tell anyone I’m here,” she told police the intruder said.

Fearing for her safety, the woman said she ran toward the bathroom as she saw the man punching her husband in the face. She eventually ran out of the room to get help.

NOPD homicide division Capt. Ryan Lubrano said at a press conference last week that officers arrived to find Hurtado still inside the room with Sorenson gravely injured from a beating to his face and head.

“The officers went into the room. They had a male in the bedroom section of the hotel room. He was down and looked like he had trauma to his face,” Lubrano said. “The victim was later transported to the hospital, where he expired about midnight.

“During this time, officers made an apprehension of an individual, Martin Hurtado. ... They apprehended him in the bathroom.”

The Orleans Parish Coroner’s office said Sorenson died from blunt force injuries. Police said when they arrested Hurtado, his right hand was swollen, his face had cuts and there was blood around his nose.

Detectives who interviewed Hurtado said he told them all he could remember was drinking at work around 6 p.m. that evening. He worked at Tacos & Beer, a restaurant just down the street from the hotel. He told police he didn’t remember anything after that.

Hurtado remains jailed at the Orleans Justice Center, his bond set at $350,000.

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