NOPD: Dead woman was apparent target at second line shooting

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by Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on September 5, 2010 at 9:07 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 6 at 6:22 PM

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Police are still looking for clues and a suspect in a quintuple shooting that left one woman dead on Sunday night in the 7th Ward.

The shooting happened near the intersection of St. Bernard and St. Claude Avenues, where a crowd had gathered to watch the annual Black Men of Labor Second Line parade.

Witnesses said the shooting ended as quickly as it began.

"The only thing I heard was 'pow, pow!'" said Nealree Williams, who was in the crowd at the time.

Though the second line had passed, the crowds remained. New Orleans police said that's when a man approached 32-year-old Kaamilla Muhammad and began shooting. A half-dozen shots later, Muhammad lay dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Four others were injured. Inside nearby Sidney's Saloon, patrons were shaken.

"One of the shots hit the door and shattered the glass, so we were afraid to come out," said Shantrell Talton.

Some neighbors, though, blame both the Saloon and the second lines for what happened.

"Close down that bar. That would stop a lot of the violence," said Diane Willis, who lives a block away from the scene of the shooting. "Remove the second lines from this street, then you remove the shootings."

"I'm just grateful that no one in the bar got shot," said Kyma Douse, manager of Sidney's Saloon.

Douse said the bar gets a bad rap whenever a shooting happens nearby. Another one happened there back in March, but she said it is something they have no control over.

"You have people over here in this bad neighborhood shooting," Douse said. "But it's not here -- this bar is like 'Cheers.' Everybody knows everybody. All the drama happens in the midst of other people coming around, and it really doesn't have anything to do with us."

It was a similar thought shared by the Black Men of Labor, who said the second line had already wrapped up when the shooting broke out.

"We put traditional music on the street," said Fred Johnson, the group's president. "We don't advocate violence. This culture is not a culture of violence."

Members said their hearts go out to the victims, but that the shooting should not be a reflection on the organization itself.

"I just don't like connotation that the parade is a signature of death, the parade is a signature of destruction, the parade is a signature of all that's bad. Well, what we have here is a societal problem. We don't have a Black Men of Labor problem, we don't have a parade problem," Johnson said. "If you open a box of apples, there's going to be a bad apple in the box. That's nature."

While there is a crime camera one block from the shooting site, it did not appear to be working on Monday morning. However, Douse said a security camera outside of Sidney's Saloon does work -- and it could end up yielding clues as to exactly what happened.

New Orleans police would not comment on the shooting and murder, only saying that it was an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information on the case is being asked to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

 

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