HARVEY, La. - According to family members, doctors are trying to determine whether a baby girl, one of five victims of Monday's west bank shooting, will be paralyzed.
The barrage of bullets left holes in the walls and marks on the floor of a Westbank apartment. Crime Scene technicians with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said they recovered 19 spent shell casings at the scene. The bullets shattered the television and pierced a deep freezer, and may have shattered the chance at a life on two legs for a one-year-old girl.
Four men armed with two weapons opened fire through the apartment door early Monday morning.
“I was in my room sleeping and all I heard somebody knocked at the door and I heard gunshots. I thought it was outside, but no, it was inside my house,” said Lionel Slater.
Three toddlers and two women were wounded in the hail of gunfire. Investigators said the shooters knocked on the door just after 4 a.m. Monday saying they were the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. When one of the women unlocked the door, they sprayed it with bullets.
The littlest victims had been asleep on the couch.
“From what I heard they are doing good. One of them is doing good, and one of them's gonna be stable. I don't know what stable means whether or not she's gonna be paralyzed or whatever. You know what I'm saying. But I'm hoping and praying,” Slater said.
Other family members also said the one-year-old girl was shot in the back and that doctors are waiting to see if she will be paralyzed.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Deputies arrested four men after a chase into Orleans Parish. They are 19-year-old Davante Robertson, 18-year-old Charlie Gumms, 21-year-old Frankie Hookfin, Jr., and 20-year-old LaShawn Davis.
“They deserve what they get. You know what I'm saying,” Slater said.
Deputies said all four have extensive arrest histories. Three of them had been arrested for murder in the past.
“When I heard about the rap sheet of these young men, I couldn't believe at such a young age that they could have that kind of rap sheet,” said Rev. J. Nelson Brown, Pastor of Second Zion Baptist Church in Marrero.
He is working on a new community outreach center in Marrero to get to young men and women before they turn to a life of crime. It’s called the Servant’s Heart and it’s supposed to open in two weeks.
“They don't know how to stop. They don't know how to quit. That's where we come in and show them their value, their worth,” Pastor Brown said.
The walls are still being painted of the former site of a Jefferson Parish head start program and elementary school off Seventh Avenue.
The center already has pool tables and a Foosball table that hasn’t been set up yet. Pastor Brown plans to offer classes on conflict resolution year-round for 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
The students will learn skills like culinary arts and leather crafts from former prisoners all in hopes of lighting a fire in young people so they don't do something as cold as the shooting that left so many shot off Lapalco Boulevard Monday.
“That's how cold our young men are. Without a second thought, who's in the house,” Brown asked.
Two of the shooting victims were still undergoing surgeries for their bullet wounds Tuesday. Family members said others should be released from both university hospital and Children's hospital in the coming days.
Investigators said the shooting may have been retaliation for an incident at a New Orleans East bar recently.