back to top

Groom-To-Be Fatally Shot While Scouting Wedding Venues

Thomas Rolfes was killed during an apparent robbery while scouting wedding venues in New Orleans, the city where he had met his bride.

Posted on

A newly engaged man was fatally shot Saturday while in New Orleans to plan his dream wedding.

Police said Monday that the killing of Thomas Rolfes, 25, was believed to have occurred during a robbery and his body showed signs of a struggle.

"At some point, the robbery turned deadly," New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said during a news conference. "By the injuries of his hands, it appears there may have been some type of struggle."

Harrison also said Rolfes' wallet was missing.

Police are investigating what happened during an hour-long period between when Rolfes went out to meet friends and where his body was found with a gunshot wound in his chest.

Rolfes and his fiancé, Elizabeth Fried, 24, were in New Orleans to plan their wedding. The couple had met at Tulane University and about a year ago moved to South Carolina, where Rolfes worked as a project engineer at Clayco, a construction company.

They were engaged last month.

"She was devastated," Rolfes' brother, Tripp, told St. Louis Dispatch Today.

His mother, Julia Rolfes, told WDSU that the killing was "the worst nightmare."

"He was here to start the next chapter of his life," she said. "Our firstborn was marrying this beautiful girl."

Clayco said in a statement Thomas' colleagues had "watched with pride" as he became a "loved and respected force in our organization."

He was also remembered by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as "a highly valued member of our 2012 campaign team."

Harrison said Rolfes' death marked the 40th homicide for the city so far this year. In April, former Saints player Will Smith was killed in New Orleans in an apparent road rage incident.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.