John Curtis Football Player Found Dead

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29ssPrepcoaches A community is mourning the loss of a John Curtis football player.

Investigators say Matthew Tarto died at the hands of his father, who later turned the gun on himself.

“The shock and the disappointment of this is, i have to be honest with you overwhelming,”  John Curtis Cristian School coach J.T. Curtis said.

Jefferson Parish detectives surrounded the home in the 3-hundred block of Celeste Avenue, at Lucy court to look into what investigators are now calling a murder suicide.

They were called to the River Ridge home to check things out, after a family member became concerned, because she hadn’t heard from her son and ex-husband in several days.

“Once they gained entrance into the home, and by the way it wasn’t forced entrance the front door was actually unlocked,” Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Spokesman John Fortunato said.  “Our preliminary finding from our homicide people it appears that the young man had been down for some time and then the older fellow just recently.”

The Jefferson Parish coroner’s office has determined that 52-year old Mark Tarto, and his 16-year old son Matthew had both been fatally shot.

A semi-automatic pistol was found next to the father’s body.

“shocking, absolutely shocking,” neighbor Mary Ellen LeBlanc said.

The crime scene in this otherwise quiet neighborhood was disturbing to neighbors passing by.

“It’s shocking  but it’s not as shocking as it used to be and that’s the sad part,” LeBlanc said.

The scene unfolded just blocks away from John Curtis Christian School, where the teenager was a sophomore honor student, and a celebrated football player.

Late Friday we caught up with coach J.T. Curtis.

“Excellent student, very committed to his grades, very committed to the work that he turned in,” Curtis said. “That’s the same way he played ball.”

“Very upsetting and it’s distracting that the situation is close to our house and our kids,” neighbor Kim Hoeffner said.

Hoeffner says she regrets never having met the Tarto’s.

“It saddens me; and I’m sad that I didn’t know who was living there I feel guilty about it,”  she said.

Neighbors say they weren’t aware of trouble at the Tarto home.

Grief counselors will be available next week for students at John Curtis Christian School.