Tuesday 15 October 2019

Police vow to catch parade shooters

Bystanders comfort a shooting victim after gunmen injured at least 18 people in New Orleans (AP/The Times-Picayune, Lauren McGaughy)
Bystanders comfort a shooting victim after gunmen injured at least 18 people in New Orleans (AP/The Times-Picayune, Lauren McGaughy)

Police in New Orleans have vowed to track down the gunmen who wounded 19 people at a Mother's Day parade, the latest violence to hit a celebration in the city this year.

The FBI called the attack "street violence" and said federal investigators have no indication the shooting was an act of terrorism. New Orleans has one of the highest violent crime rates among US cities.

The victims were 10 men, seven women, a boy and a girl, and at least three of them were seriously wounded. Of the rest, many were grazed by the shots including the children, both 10 years old.

Detectives are collecting any surveillance video they can find and gathering evidence from where gunmen opened fire on Sunday on the parade of hundreds of revellers Mobile phone videos after the shooting showed victims lying on the ground, blood on the pavement and others bending down to comfort them.

It is not the first time gunfire has shattered a festive mood in New Orleans this year. Five people were wounded in January after a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, and four were wounded in a shooting in the French Quarter before Mardi Gras, a popular tourist destination.

As many as 400 people came out for the second-line Mother's Day procession - a boisterous New Orleans tradition. Police saw three suspects running from the scene. No arrests had been made yet. Second-line parades are loose processions in which people dance down the street, often following a brass band. They trace their origins to the city's famous jazz funerals.

Outside the hospital, Leonard Temple wept as he talked about a friend who was in surgery after being shot three times during the parade. Mr Temple was told the man was hit while trying to push his own daughter out of the way.

"People were just hanging out. We were just chilling. And this happened. Bad things always happen to good people," he said.

.The neighbourhood where the shooting happened is a mix of low-income and middle-class row houses, some boarded up. The crime scene was about 1.5 miles from the heart of the French Quarter and near the Treme neighbourhood.

New Orleans is struggling to pay the tens of millions of dollars required under a federal decree to reform the city's police department and the city jail.

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