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(E) Croatian-American Tavern Owner Killed in Louisian
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  01/11/2004 | Community | Unrated
(E) Croatian-American Tavern Owner Killed in Louisian

 

Bar owner fatally shot at tavern in Gentilly

The following appeared in The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. John
Kraljic

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 504 822-1111.

Bar owner fatally shot at tavern in Gentilly
'Like losing a family member,' patron says

Friday January 09, 2004
By Leslie Williams
Staff writer

During the past couple of decades or so, Steven Horvat had gotten to
know Emmett Sindik well. Both had links to Croatia. Horvat immigrated to
the United States from there; Sindik had Croatian grandparents. The two
talked a lot about sports and other things. And for years, Sindik
managed Horvat's favorite watering hole, the Clematis Bar, which was
established in Gentilly in 1939.

Neighborhood residents and people who used to live in the neighborhood
for years have gathered at the bar where, Horvat said, "everybody knows
everybody." The bar had become particularly important to Horvat since he
lost about 95 percent of his sight about 2 ½ years ago. The bar, which
for a while also operated a restaurant, is across the street from
Horvat's home in the 3600 block of Clematis Street and is the only place
Horvat can go unaccompanied.

On Wednesday, Horvat "cried like hell all night," not because his life
will likely change, but for the loss of Sindik, 67, who was gunned down
at the bar during what police called an attempted robbery.

On Wednesday at about 10:30 p.m., a man was leaving the bar. Two masked
gunmen forced the patron back inside and ordered everyone to lie on the
floor. Sindik ran to the rear of the bar, police spokesman Sgt. Paul
Accardo said. One of the gunmen leaped over the counter, chased Sindik
to the store room and opened fire, shooting the proprietor "multiple
times in the body," Accardo said.

The two gunmen then fled, he said. Detectives think cash might have been
stolen from the register and from four customers in the bar.

None of the patrons was injured, Accardo said.

Horvat, 66, said he had spoken with Sindik hours before the shooting.

"We were talking about Amazon mahogany," said Horvat; his son's business
deals with the importation of exotic lumber.

Sindik appeared in pretty good spirits, Horvat said. "He's always been a
friendly fellow -- and helpful. If you were short on cash, he'd let you
pay later."

After Horvat, a roofing contractor, lost most of his sight, Sindik would
sometimes escort Horvat home.

Before becoming the owner and backup bartender at Clematis Bar, Sindik
operated the Old Post Office bar on Downman Road, Horvat said.

At this point in his life, Sindik didn't need the money, Horvat said.

"One day he told me that, 'You know why I keep that bar going? Because I
don't have anything else to do.' " "It's so sad," Horvat said. "It's like losing a family member.

"It's so unfair. What kind of world do we live in? New Orleans is such a
beautiful place. It has the potential for greatness, but these people
disrupt it, pure criminals."

Fifth District Detective Barret Moron is in charge of the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 504 822-1111.
Callers need not identify themselves and may earn a $1,000 reward.

Leslie Williams can be reached at lwilliams@timespicayune.com  or (504) 826-3358.

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