Apr. 14: South Liberty and Josephine
NEW ORLEANS -- Another roadside memorial for another murder victim on the streets of New Orleans. It marks the spot where Racquel Gillard, 38, lost her life in the 2300 block of Josephine Street in Central City.
Police say, in April, Johntrell Washington shot and killed Gillard. Thursday, they arrested him for the crime.
NOPD released a statement saying, "On Thursday, May 08, 2014 at about 3:30 p.m, Gang Unit Detectives received information regarding the whereabouts of 17-year-old Johntrell Washington. Washington was wanted for last month’s shooting death of 38-year-old Racquel Gillard. Gang Unit detectives received information that Washington was in the 2300 block of M.L.K.
"Gang Unit Detectives along with the Sixth District Task Force set up a perimeter in the area, and located Washington without any incidents. Washington was relocated to the Homicide Division where detectives conducted an interview. Washington was later transported to Central Lockup where he was booked with one count of second-degree murder."
Gillard's long-time friend, Luther Tate, called his friend "Rocky's" murder, senseless.
"From what I heard, the youngster said that he thought she had stolen his stash," said Tate. "Come to find out, she didn't steal it. Whoever stole his stash gave it back to him after she got killed."
According to arrest documents, a witness told police Washington pulled out a silver revolver and shot Gillard two times.
The witness also told investigators, when Gillard fell to the ground, Washington shot her "several more" times.
"She was a good person," said Tate. "She just got caught up in the wrong lifestyle. She was off into the drug thing and she had been in it since she was a little girl. It's sad, but she came up that way."
Last year, police arrested Washington and charged with the killing of Ricky Summers, an eighth-grader at Kipp Central City Academy, but the Orleans Parish District Attorney refused to prosecute due to lack of evidence.
“The case against Johntrell Washington for the murder of Ricky Summers was refused in July of last year," said Cannizzaro. "For the District Attorney’s office to institute prosecution in any case, the office must possess evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the criminal act for which he is charged. If we do not possess such evidence, then we will not charge him simply for the sake of doing so."
Cannizzaro also said, "The Summers murder exemplifies the need for witness cooperation and the need for every citizen to get involved in our criminal justice system. Until witnesses are willing to come forward, tell us what they know, and assist us in getting the bad guys out of the neighborhoods, violent criminals will continue to wreak havoc on our streets and will continue to perpetrate mayhem with impunity in this great city.”
Tate said it would have better for the whole neighborhood had Washington been off the streets.
"If he had been in jail, he wouldn't have been out to kill and if they didn't pick him up for this one, he's going to kill somebody else," said Tate.
Back at the murder scene on Josephine Street, somebody posted signs containing the words, "Thou Shalt Not Kill" and "Cease Fire."
Central City neighbors say far too many people don't get the message.
"I don't know if they feel the loss," said neighbor David Warren. "Just another person dead, and we had countless people done died in this neighborhood. Ain't nothing changed."
"I hate I lost her, but, I got to accept it," said Tate.
Washington remains in jail on a second-degree murder charge.
View New Orleans Murder Map - 2014 in a larger map