NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas warned those who brazenly broke up a Mother’s Day second line with a hail of gunfire that investigators know more about them than the assailants may think.
“We know a lot more about you than you think we do,” Serpas said Monday during a mid-afternoon news conference.
Also, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for a community gathering at the corner of Frenchmen and North Villere streets at 6 o’clock Monday to “show solidarity in protecting our culture and delivering a strong message to stop the shootings.”
Nearly 24 hours after 19 people were injured in the Sunday shooting, Serpas said no target had been identified.
Still, in conjunction with an announcement late Sunday night that CrimeStoppers was offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect, Serpas said tips began flowing in.
“This latest in a string of senseless acts of violence is an outrage,” District D Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said in a statement Monday. “I urge you, if you know who did this, give us their name. In the future, if you know someone is planning violence, call the police and let them put a stop to it.
“We have to be in this together – residents, police and leaders – if we have any hope of escaping this tragic cycle.”
Three of the 19 victims remained in critical condition at University Hospital at noon Monday, with eight other wounded having been previously released.
Investigators originally said there possibly were three shooters involved but Serpas said police were still trying to determine whether there was more than one shooter and more than one gun fired.
Ten NOPD officers were part of the procession of several hundred people through the 7th Ward and Serpas said an additional eight officers were assigned to the surrounding neighborhood while it was ongoing.
But when the shooting happened, the officers’ first priority was to “stop and render aid to those who had been shot,” Serpas said.
The shooting wasn’t the first at a group gathering this year. Several people were shot on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras while several others were hit during a shooting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Nevertheless, Serpas said the NOPD stands by the second-line crews, calling the processions “an amazing part of our culture.”
“This is a small, unusual event,” he said. “This is one person, maybe more, who took it upon himself to act out irresponsibly.”
Said Hedge-Morrell, “These shooting tear apart families and communities and they must stop. We, as officials, can only do so much. It’s going to take the community banding together to put an end to this culture of violence.”