Ramon Antonio Vargas
The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate
A 27-year-old New Orleans man sparked the gun battle that left him and two others dead inside of Jefferson Gun Outlet in Metairie on Saturday afternoon, according to law enforcement sources.
The sources said Joshua Jamal Williams carried a pistol with an extended magazine into the gun store and indoor shooting range at 6719 Airline Drive about 3 p.m. Saturday when staff told him to unload his weapon. Rules prohibit people from having loaded guns out while away from the range.
Williams subsequently fired a warning round before fatally shooting a store clerk, 47-year-old Herbert “Noah” Fischbach, who was married and was a father, one of the sources said. Several armed people at Jefferson Gun Outlet then began exchanging gunfire with Williams.
Williams and a woman were both hit and mortally wounded during the melee. He died after running out to the parking lot, and the woman died near the store’s glass front door, which was shattered. Two other people were wounded and brought to the hospital, and their injuries were not thought to be life-threatening, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has said.
Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich confirmed Williams’ and Fischbach’s names Sunday morning. He identified the slain woman as Veronica Billiot, 59, of Belle Chasse.
A relative of Williams on Saturday wondered what might have provoked the first shots to be fired. The relative doubted Williams, who had gone to the store for target practice while spending time with his brother and some children, would have shown up spoiling for a gun fight at a place known to be a hangout spot for off-duty law enforcement officers and ex-military personnel.
“That would be a death sentence,” said the relative, who declined to give his name.
A woman on social media identifying herself as Williams’ mother posted a similar message, saying, “My son did not go into that gun range shooting!”
The message added: “Joshua … was fired at by … employees of the gun range and other folks in the gun range! He was murdered! (Rest in peace) my love, you will be forever in my heart!”
A social media profile under Fischbach’s name describes him as a special effects technician and armorer — or someone who handles weapons — for film and television productions. Besides Metairie and New Orleans, he had lived in Portland, Oregon.
Photos on social media show him with his wife and children. Other information on social media shows Fischbach and his wife had their 14th wedding anniversary less than two weeks before his slaying.
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