NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans police say a 5-year-old girl and a 33-year-old woman have died in a quintuple shooting that left three others injured, including a 10-year-old boy celebrating his birthday, in Central City Tuesday night.
Bobbing balloons mark the house where Linda Allen and her family were getting ready to celebrate her 10-year-old grandson’s birthday.
“We (were) giving my grandbaby a party,” Allen said.
One eyewitness said that two gunman approached the party where friends and family had gathered, and then in broad daylight opened fire, turning their guns and firing down a very crowded Simon Bolivar Avenue.
That eyewitness says the men ran from the scene, jumping into a nearby car.
“Clearly the cowardice of these shooters must be and will be overcome by the will of the people of New Orleans,” said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
Police say five people were hit by gunfire, including a 10-year-old boy celebrating his birthday. He’s expected to be OK, but police confirm that a little girl, the cousin of the boy who relatives say was 5 years old, died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen after undergoing surgery at University Hospital.
Police say a 33-year-old woman, who was driving by the party in a gray car, was hit in the crossfire and died. Family idenitified the woman as Shawanna "Nonnie" Pierce, and Pierce, a mother of three, was not on her way to party, but they knew the Allen family. She was on her way to return a rental car to Enterprise when she was shot, three blocks from the party.
Police also say a 19-year-old and 24-year-old were grazed by bullets. Their injuries are non-life threatening.
The NOPD has released video of the suspects escaping in a getaway car:
Police say it's a silver, four-door Niassan Maxima that can be seen parking in front of a silver truck. You can see the three suspects exiting the vehicle and running off camera. Later, and off camera, they shoot into a crowd. They are then seen running back into the frame and fleeing in the vehicle.
Shortly after the shooting, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, crime commissioner James Carter and Serpas showed up to the crime scene to address the brazen shooting.
“You have to stop the shooting,” Landrieu said. “What do you do about a bunch of thugs who opened fire on the street with tons of people around and don’t even care if there’s a birthday going on?”
Neighbors living in the area said that they believe the shooting was sparked by a feud between two groups.
Carter said the cease-fire staff is working with the victims’ families to stop any retaliation.
If you know anything about the shooting that can help investigators, call Crimestoppers at 822-1111.
The gunfire comes hours after the NOPD investigated a string of separate shootings across the city in a one-hour span. Three people were shot between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. One of those victims died from injuries sustained in the shooting.
Editor's Note: The NOPD released several different ages throughout the day of the victims, with the 5-year-old girl being named both as a 3-year-old and 7-year-old at separate times. The 33-year-old victim was previously reported by the NOPD to be a 25-year-old victim, and they originally said the age of the boy was 8 years old before updating it to 10 years old.