Criminologist calls spike in violence 'shocking'

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 28 at 7:21 AM

Dennis Woltering / Eyewitness News
Email: dwoltering@wwltv.com | Twitter: @dwoltering

NEW ORLEANS -- The gun violence since Friday has been explosive.

“It's shocking,” said criminologist John Penny of SUNO.

Altogether four people were shot Tuesday, with 19 shot over the weekend.

Gunmen shot a total of 23 people in five days, killing five of them – six men and one woman.

“They don’t have any value to life and they don’t seem to understand the pain, the suffering they leave behind,” Penny said.

And so far police have made no arrests.

“We're trying to piece together whether or not these are ongoing disputes between people,” said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas. “So far we haven’t seen that evidence yet -- doesn't mean we might not, but we haven’t seen it.”

The most stunning incident of this spike of gun violence took place at a graduation party late Friday in the 6200 block of Eads Street in Gentilly.

Eyewitnesses said they heard 15 to 20 shots when a dispute at a graduation party erupted in gunfire. Eight people were shot. A 15 year old died.

Penny said some of the violence almost seems impulsive.

“There are still people in the community, Dennis, who don't know how to solve problems without violence.”

Serpas said officers often get called to big block parties like that one, but that this trouble may have spiked fast.

“If more of these become more of these random, independent kind of events, then we need to go find out what was behind it,” Penny said. “Why did the person seek someone out – almost always it's someone they knew – and kill them or shoot at them and try to kill them?"

Killers are using guns more than any other method to take people’s lives in New Orleans.

So far this year, 54 people have been killed in the city. Fifty of them died from gunshot wounds.

But even as he responds to that, Penny said he knows what he suggests is politically explosive and unpopular.

“I believe we're at a point where we need gun control in this country,” Penny said.

If you can help investigators solve any of these shootings, call Crimestoppers at 822-1111.

 

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