La. Mom Killed When Man Being Ejected from Bar Allegedly Grabs Guard’s Gun and Fires Bullets

A 36-year-old nurse and mother was fatally shot on a rare night out on Bourbon Street in New Orleans when a man who was being ejected from a restaurant allegedly grabbed a security guard’s gun and started shooting, authorities say.

Julie Couvillon, 36, of Metairie, was pronounced dead after being rushed to a nearby hospital, the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office confirms to PEOPLE.

Couvillon, who leaves behind a young daughter, was killed when she was walking near Willie’s Chicken Shack on Bourbon Street after spending the day enjoying Carnival parades, the Advocate reports.

“It’s horrible,” Couvillon’s longtime friend, Angela Negoda, told local CBS affiliate 4WWL. “The situation should have never happened.”

Couvillon “had an infectious smile,” Andrew Negoda told the station. “Julie was the type of person where if you met her you were friends with her instantly. She was a good person.”

The shooting took place at approximately 3:10 a.m. when an armed security guard tried to remove Louis Barnes, 37, from the restaurant, the New Orleans Police Department said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

“As the security guard was escorting the suspect from the business, a struggle ensued,” say police. “During the struggle, the suspect managed to discharge the security [guard’s] firearm several times fatally wounding a 36-year-old female and striking the security guard to the neck and striking himself to the shoulder.”

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Nearby officers heard the gunfire and immediately apprehended the suspect without further incident.

Barnes was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree. It is unclear whether he had entered a plea or has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

The security guard, who has not yet been publicly identified, was listed in critical condition Sunday but is expected to make a full recovery, a representative from Willie’s Chicken Shack told Nola.com.

Couvillon’s colleagues at Ochsner Health System, where she was a registered nurse, are mourning her loss.

“We are terribly shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic passing of our friend and colleague, Julie Couvillon,” the hospital said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

“An employee for 13 years, Julie was a beloved nurse who dedicated her life to caring for others. This is a devastating loss to the nurses, employees, physicians, and staff across our system. We offer our deepest condolences to her family and the families of the other victims.”

Anyone with information that can help solve this crime is asked to call CRIMESTOPPERS at 822-1111, toll-free 1-877-903-STOP(7867).

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