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Mike Perlstein / Eyewitness News
Email: mperlstein@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mperlstein

NEW ORLEANS -- The scene following last month's fatal shooting of Harry 'Mike' Ainsworth on Jan. 25 was chaotic.

There was the woman who was being carjacked when Ainsworth rushed to help. There were his two sons - age 9 and 10 - who saw their father die. There were several 911 calls, and within minutes, a swarm of police.

Ainsworth collapsed in the front yard of Al Schmitt, where a memorial to the Good Samaritan still stands.

'I saw a lot of police officers, some detectives in plainclothes, and a lot of cars, talking about the situation,' Schmitt said. 'That was just a few minutes after it happened.'

But not known until now was that there was another Algiers Point neighbor who jumped into action, giving chase in his car as the gunman ran from the early morning murder scene.

Two high-level sources told Eyewitness News that the citizen called 911, describing the shooter and providing street-by-street directions as he drove behind the killer.

According to the sources, the information was dispatched throughout the 4th District over the police radio. The citizen relayed that the shooter sprinted from Vallette Street to Eliza Street, toward the river, then down Seguin, against traffic.

The citizen chose not to drive the wrong way on Seguin, so he continued to the next block, losing sight of the perpetrator.

'I didn't see any of them go around the corner to follow the guy. Now, I don't know if there are any other police cars. But they could have cornered him if these guys would have gone to the scene instead of talked about it,' Schmitt said.

The chase by the witness didn't end with his first 911 call.

According to our sources, the citizen regained sight of the shooter after he drove across Opelousas Street and, again, called 911.

When the killer slipped from view a second time, it was for good.

Schmitt said none of the officers on Vallette Street left to join the chase.

'I'm not criticizing the police department, don't get me wrong,' Schmitt said. 'It just seems that with a murder in a beautiful neighborhood like this, a quiet neighborhood where we have very little problems, when something like this occurs, they should have done whatever it took to try to catch that guy right away.'

During the course of the murder investigation, the role of the NOPD Communications Department was reviewed internally. It was determined that the 911 operators and dispatchers performed their jobs properly.

Our public records request for the 911 tapes was denied last week because the murder case remains open.

'It's scary to think that the guy's still on the loose,' Schmitt said.

We talked to New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas about the case Monday, and he confirmed the 911 calls from the citizen who gave chase.

The chief said a police car ultimately joined the search, but not until after the man lost sight of the gunman.

Detectives continue to work with the citizen, and all potential witnesses, as they try to solve the case.

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