Tulane graduate in New Orleans to plan wedding fatally shot near South Claiborne Avenue

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - A 25-year-old man in New Orleans to plan his wedding ended up dead.

According to the NOPD, officers discovered the body of a man lying on Amelia Street near South Claiborne Avenue Saturday at about 4:36 a.m. He had been shot in the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities have identified him as Thomas Rolfes.  Family members told WGNO that Rolfes graduated from Tulane University in 2011, but was currently living in Greenville, South Carolina, where he was the project manager for a construction management firm.

New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison told reporters at a Monday afternoon press conference that investigators believe robbery is the motive for the killing.

He said injuries to Rolfes' hands indicate that there may have been a struggle. Rolfes' wallet was missing when his body was found.

Investigators are still developing a timeline of where Rolfes was that night, where we went, who he was with, and other key details, Harrison said.

No suspect or suspects have been identified yet.

About a month ago, he proposed to his girlfriend, Liz Fried. Fried also graduated from Tulane University. She reportedly did not go out with Rolfes Friday because she felt tired.

“He loved New Orleans. He met his future wife in New Orleans. But New Orleans has taken him from me and it's awful. I don't want it to happen to anyone else's son, daughter, husband or wife," Rolfes' father, Ron, told WGNO.

"He was a great man. He had a huge future ahead of him. Great brother, great son, he was going to be a great husband and I know he was going to be a great father."

Thomas Rolfes was originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and has three younger siblings.

Timeline

Ron said Rolfes was visiting old friends late Friday at a popular Uptown bar, Miss Mae's.

He also told WGNO Rolfes' cell phone battery died around 1:30 a.m.

Investigators told Ron that Rolfes used a credit card to buy bottled water at about 3:30 a.m. at the Delta Fuel gas station at Louisiana and Claiborne near where his body was found.

Homicide Detective Drew Waldron is in charge of the ongoing investigation and can be reached at 504-658-5300 with any information regarding the incident.

Residents with information that can help solve a crime are asked to call Crimestoppers at 822-1111 or toll-free 1-877-903-STOP.

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