Danziger victim said he was shot in stomach as he hid for protection

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 29, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 30 at 9:05 AM

NEW ORLEANS – A victim of the shooting at the Danziger Bridge testified that he was walking across the span when he heard shots ring out from behind, shots that hit his aunt and cousin as well as himself.

Jose Holmes described a searing pain in his left arm and said he and his family members leapt behind a concrete barrier for safety. Holmes said he saw the shadow of someone appear on the bridge and the barrel of a gun.

“I looked away,” he said. “They shot me twice in the stomach.”

Holmes was allowed to show scars from his wounds to the jury.

He added that neither he nor anyone he was with had shot at police, nor were they armed. He said he didn't see or hear anyone fire at police.

Holmes was the second victim of the shooting on the Danziger Bridge to testify this week. His aunt, Susan Bartholomew, who had her arm nearly shot off, was the first on the stand earlier in the week.

Five current and former officers are accused of opening fire on unarmed civilians, killing two and wounding four, or of covering up the incident.

A videotape shot by a national news crew was played earlier in the day. It clearly has the sound of 40-50 gunshots in rapid fire succession, followed by more shots for another minute or so on the Danziger Bridge the day two civilians were killed and four others were injured.

The video was played for the jury after discussion with the judge on how much of it would be shown.

The video was played during the questioning of Officer Jennifer Dupree who was on the high rise that day, looking down on the Danziger Bridge. She said she had called in a report of shots fired and suspects running toward the Danziger Bridge before officers arrived in a Budget rental truck.

On the video, Dupree can be heard talking on a radio and trying to describe what she had seen the suspects wearing. A voice on the other end tells her to shut up.

Dupree said her phone call likely started the chain of events, but in earlier testimony she said she never reported that an officer was down or had been shot.

Under cross examination though, defense attorneys hammered at her wording.

"There was a great deal of testimony on cross examination about, 'did you say there were two officers down under the bridge?' and she said, 'yeah, there were two officers down under the bridge," said legal analyst Chick Foret. "You could clearly tell by her inflection in her voice during cross-examination that what she meant was that two of the officers had gone down the Downman ramp and had gone under the bridge."

Defense attorneys have contended that in a heated, chaotic situation, they had a report that two officers had been shot and responded to the Danziger Bridge with that in mind.

Dupree was the main witness for the prosecution Wednesday.

She said she saw a Budget Rental truck pull up on the Danziger and then she heard a “whole bunch of shots” ring out.

Dupree’s testimony followed that of former Lt. Michael Lohman who finished his testimony as prosecutors asked him to clarify on some of the testimony he gave to defense attorneys.

Lohman said he met with the defendants in the shooting incident close to 100 times to get their story straight about what they would say happened on the bridge.

He said that following the shooting, there were pens and paper present, but that no notes were taken, no sketches drawn, which were all designed as part of the cover up.

Despite defense attorneys hammering Lohman on his plea deal and his role in the alleged cover up, legal analyst Chick Foret said he proved to be a positive witness for the prosecutors.

“He was a very effective witness for the government,” said Foret. “There were a couple of points that he made that I think the defense will use to their benefit. There was some testimony about (Kenneth) Bowen jumping out of the truck and firing his weapon, perhaps indiscriminately, and that certainly helps the guys in the back of the truck.”

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