Wednesday 18 September 2019

Seventeen wounded in gang gun battle at crowded park playground

Police were on route to the block party when the shootings took place Credit: Times-Picayune\Youtbe
Police were on route to the block party when the shootings took place Credit: Times-Picayune\Youtbe

David Kearns

At least 17 people have been wounded after a firefight broke out between two groups at a New Orleans playground.

Hundreds of people were gathered for a block party and a music video at the Bunny Friend Playground when a disagreement between two groups sparked a shooting spree.

Circumstances surrounding the shooting in the city's Upper Ninth Ward were not immediately clear, but witnesses said that those involved in the gun battle had fled the park on foot immediately after the shooting.

New Orleans Police Department spokesman Tyler Gamble told Reuters no fatalities were reported and that it was “too soon to say” whether the shootings were gang related.

According to police, 10 gunshot victims were taken to area hospitals by ambulance, and six more arrived at emergency rooms "via private conveyance".

Mr Gamble said each of the 16 victims suffered either a "direct gunshot wound" or a "graze wound" and all were listed in stable condition, though the full extent of their injuries was still to be ascertained.

Police said they did not have the age or gender of the victims.

The incident unfolded at about 6.15pm near the Bunny Friend playground, following a community "second line" parade that ended a few blocks away earlier in the day.

Police were on their way to break up the block party, as it did not have a permit, when they were alerted to the sounds of gunfire.

The Times-Picayune newspaper reports that multiple witnesses saw a man with a silver machine gun fleeing the scene but noted that the shooting continued as the man ran away.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, speaking at a news conference aired on WWL-TV, called on people who were in the park to come forward with information. Police have also asked people with any video of the shooting to bring it in.

"At the end of the day, it's really hard to police against a bunch of guys who decide to pull out guns and settle their disputes with 300 people in between them. That's just not something you can tolerate in the city," Mr Landrieu said.

Photos of the scene showed emergency workers wheeling some of the wounded on stretchers while other people who appeared to be in pain lay on the ground.

None of the injuries is believed to be life-threatening.

Police said 11 of the victims were under the age of 21. Most have been discharged from the hospital, but officials said one will likely never walk again.

Officers are still searching for the gunmen who opened fire in the park.

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