Edited time: May 12, 2013 22:43
Seventeen people are injured, with 12 being treated for gunshot wounds following a shootout in the ‘second line’ of a parade on Mother’s Day in New Orleans. The youngest victim in the surprise attack was a 10 year old, who was grazed by a stray bullet.
Over 300 people were participating in the residential festival, on Frenchmen Street, in the east of the city, when several shots were fired. The incident occurred around 2pm local time (19:00 GMT) on Sunday.
Nine people were immediately taken to University Hospital by emergency responders, eight of whom had gunshot wounds, according to local channel WWLTV. One more was injured in an attempt to escape from the shooting.
The majority of the injuries are not considered life-threatening, and no fatalities have been confirmed, but four are reportedly in a critical condition.
Police confirmed the overall number of casualties stood at 17, and the injured included a 10 year old girl who was grazed on her side by a bullet.
“There was a 10 year old girl we believe who suffered a graze wound, and she is in good condition and under care. Three to four people are in surgery right now, and we have no indication of what their condition is, but we also have no indications at this time that anyone will perish from today’s events,” New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronald Serpas told local station WDSU.
“The shots just started ringing out, and everybody just started running, and the next thing I heard, 10-15 people got shot,” one witness told WDSU.
Police believe three suspects were responsible for the gunfire, who were seen fleeing towards Claiborne Avenue. A door-to-door search is being conducted in the hopes of tracing one or more of them.
“The parade was only about two or three blocks long, and when the end of the second line was at the corner of Villere and Frenchmen, shots rang out – maybe two different types of weapons,” Serpas said.
“One of the suspects’ descriptions would be a dark-skinned male, 18 to 22 years old, short hair and wearing a white shirt and blue jean shorts,” he said.
Police and local media had appealed for anyone with information on the incident to contact crime stoppers in the hope of tracing the gunman, or gunmen. In the same way investigators of the Boston Marathon Bombings appealed for crowdsourced photographs, police have urged anyone with any photographs of the parade to step forward.
The shooting hit the ‘second line’ of the parade. The ‘second line’ is the crowd of parade goers which follows the official participants. NOPD Superintendent Ronald Serpas told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that there may have been up to 400 people in it, with some 200 in the area of the shooting at the time.
A week ago, police were also called out to investigate a triple shooting near the corner of Frenchman street.