Chaos on Bourbon Street after 9 people shot

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 29, 2014 at 4:35 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 30 at 5:12 AM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS, La. – New Orleans police are working to identify two gunmen who shot into a Bourbon Street crowd early Sunday morning, injuring nine people.

Police say all of the victims were innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire, and some of those victims were tourists here visiting New Orleans.

Two of the victimis were in critical condition, the other seven were listed as stable.

“We just looked back and it was like ants, like when you step on an ant pile, everyone just scattered,” said eyewitness A.J. Garcia.

This surveillance video captured by Earthcam.net shows the chaos as gunfire erupted on a crowded Bourbon Street.

Garcia and his girlfriend Amanda Hawkins were in town celebrating a birthday when they heard the gunshots.

“We hear the gunshots and we run, we get into this first bar right here,” Garcia said. “I throw her on the ground and people are coming in, just falling over each other.”

Hawkins said, "It’s like a movie or something you see on the news. I never imagined it would happen to us."

Police say two men got into a dispute, and that's when they pulled out their guns and started shooting at one another.

But what witnesses say happened next is even more terrifying.

“He seemed pissed off at some dude,” said one eyewitness. “Pulled the gun out, started shooting the guy and then turned around on the crowd and started shooting at us.”

New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas called it a cowardly act that wounded nine people, two of which remain in critical condition.

"This is a heinous crime," Serpas said. "This is two young men, both armed with firearms, who chose to settle a dispute between themselves without a moment's care for anyone else."

Thankfully bystanders jumped into action and rendered aid to the victims before help arrived.

“Then this guy came limping in and he was shot in the knee and then we lifted his pants up and he was just gushing blood,” Garcia said. “I took my shirt off and my girlfriend tied it around his leg.”

Hawkins said, “I was just trying to calm him down. ‘Where are you from? What's your name? How many brothers do you have?’ I was just trying to get his mind off it.”

There are several security cameras on Bourbon Street and throughout the French Quarter.

NOPD officials said they've got a lot of video footage of the shooting and several eyewitnesses, and although they haven't released the names of the two gunmen, police say they have a pretty good idea who these guys are and expect to make an arrest soon.  

In a statement released by the mayor's office, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the "number one priority is to keep New Orleans safe."

"These kinds of incidents will not go unanswered," he said. "NOPD was in the immediate vicinity at the time of the incident, and I am confident that between video evidence and eyewitness accounts, we will bring the perpetrators to justice. Our crime fighting efforts have brought murders in the city of New Orleans to a historic nearly 30-year low.  But on days like today, the statistics don't matter because every life is precious - from the 9th Ward to the French Quarter.  We will not rest until every corner of this city is safe.”

Sunday morning's incident is the third major shooting on Bourbon Street in the last three years. Last February on the Saturday before Mardi Gras, an argument in the 400 block of Bourbon Street led to a shooting that sent four people to the hospital. During Halloween in 2011 on that same block, one person was killed and seven others were injured after gunmen opened fire on each other in the crowd.

Police are continuing to gather information on the incident.

As always, anyone with information can call Crimestoppers at 822-1111. They're offering $2,500 for info leading to the arrest of each shooter.

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