NEW ORLEANS - The shooting death of one-year-old Londyn Samuels while she walked innocently with her babysitter Thursday afternoon continued an unsettling pattern that has seen one child slain each year in that area of town over the past four years.
In Sept. 2010, 2-year-old Jeremy Galmon was sitting in a car near where a second line was passing when gunshots rang out. A bullet pierced the car's window and struck him in the face.
At a news conference after that shooting, Mayor Mitch Landrieu condemned the killing, saying the behavior would not be tolerated.
“We have to find an answer,” he said. “This is unacceptable.”
“This case is endemic of a problem in our community that we are going to fix,” Superintendent Ronal Serpas said. “Our police department is going to get better.”
Ironically, the trial of one of the suspects in the Galmon slaying is happening right now.
In Dec. 2011, Keira Holmes Gordon was playing in a courtyard in the B.W. Cooper Housing Development when bullets were sprayed, apparently by two groups who opened fire at each other in an area where young children were playing. Gordon was hit and killed.
Gordon was just shy of her second birthday and her grandmother had presents for her and a Christmas tree, which she said she no longer wanted in the house.
"It's not a war. It's worse than a war," said Landrieu, who spent time embracing some of Gordon’s family members.
"A war is when is two nations fight each other. What we're doing is killing ourselves and we're actually killing the future of the city," Landrieu said.
Serpas said the target had a criminal history of his own and had been arrested twice in the last two years on gun charges.
"It is reprehensible that the courts continue to send these men to the streets of New Orleans to be murderers or be murdered, and at the same time, innocent young children are lost," he said. "The NOPD is arresting a whole lot of dangerous people, but somehow or another, with the drive-thru window of justice on Broad and Tulane, they're right back on the streets
In May 2012, Briana Allen was at a birthday party for a 10-year-old boy when bullets again flew, directed, supposedly, at someone at or near the area. The 10-year-old boy who was attending the party was also shot and injured.
Shawanna "Nonnie" Pierce, 33, was also killed in the shooting when she was hit by a bullet three blocks from the party in the 1200 block of Simon Bolivar Avenue.
"We've got to find these guys and we've got to end this violence," said Landrieu in a press conference shortly after the incident. "What do you do about an irrational, uncaring, bunch of thugs?"
"Cowardice will be overcome by the will of the people of New Orleans," said Serpas. "That's what we need right now."
Thursday night Londyn Samuels was walking with her babysitter when shots were fired. The sitter was hit, but Samuels was killed.
"This is the time. This is when the people of New Orleans need to rally up, stand up and say, this is what happened. Give us the information. Let us go make these people accountable for what they did," Serpas said.