NOPD beefing up patrols after drug related Shooting near Canal Street


Posted on March 26, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 26 at 7:00 PM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Two men are behind bars while a 19-year-old victim remains in critical condition after a brazen downtown shooting Tuesday afternoon.

Police say the shooting was the result of a drug deal and community members say it's an all-too common occurrence.

If you ask anyone on the street, they will tell you the 1100 block of Canal Street is open for business long before shop owners are.

On several occasions, people have been spotted dealing drugs in plain sight at the bus stop, on the corner of Canal and Rampart Streets.

Local anti-crime activist Nadra Enzi, also known as Captain Black, says that is why he is not surprised to learn Tuesday's shooting was drug related.

"When you don't see a significant police presence in an area and you allow the area to look dilapidated, and all this falls under municipal codes, then it invites crime," said Enzi. "The broken windows theory."

For months Enzi has called on NOPD and even city officials to increase police visibility and patrols in the area, especially at the troubled bus stop, but he says nothing has changed.

"Citizens have made, businesses have made numerous complaints and they have been ignored," said Enzi.

"There is always more that can be done and we are going to continue to press on NOPD to do more and more, especially after this incident, but I think they have been responsive," said Kurt Weigle the President and CEO of the Downtown Development District or DDD.

Weigle says with the help of the NOPD and with his group's dedication to revitalizing and developing the CBD, crime has actually been on the decline.

"Two years ago crime, year over year, decreased 14 percent downtown," said Weigle. "It decreased another 6 percent on top of that, so the trend is very positive for the safety of downtown."

Weigle says the overall picture downtown is positive, with new retailers moving in everyday. Still, he says he is already working on ways to reduce crime where this latest shooting happened.

"As a matter of fact the DDD is working with the owner of the Loew's State Palace Theater, the person who has that site under control right now, to redevelop that site," said Weigle.

NOPD officials say that due to past reports of drug activity, officers are already on proactive patrol in the area.

It's one reason officers were able to apprehend the suspects so quickly after Tuesday's shooting.

Still, NOPD says it's beefing up patrols by adding two walking beat officers to the area.

Eyewitness News also contacted RTA officials who say they are working closely with police to ensure passenger safety at all RTA stops.

Here is the complete Statement from the NOPD regarding its response to the high volume of drug activity reported on Canal Street:

An officer was in the immediate area working a paid detail when the shooting occurred. This officer immediately responded to the scene and broadcasted a description of the perpetrators on the radio, and rendered aid to the victim. Additionally, due to the past reports of narcotics activity, officers were already on proactive patrol in the area and were able to respond quickly and apprehend the perpetrators.

We have now beefed up our patrolling by adding two walking beat officers to that area.

As a result of the proactive patrolling that has been directed to that area, several narcotics and gun arrests have been made. One significant arrest in particular was that of 29-year-old Eric Carter. On March 17, 2014, Officers Robert Fuller and Daniel Oquendo were on proactive patrol in the area of Elks St. and Canal St. when they observed Mr. Carter engaged in several hand-to-hand narcotics transactions. As the officers attempted to detain Carter, a brief struggle ensued. Carter was subsequently placed under arrest. Carter was found to be in possession of 155 bags of marijuana, 43 rocks of crack cocaine, 21 foils of heroin and $495 cash. Carter has a history of arrests and convictions for marijuana and cocaine in addition to resisting arrest.