NEW ORLEANS -- One man was shot and another died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound as a weekend trip for four men to the French Quarter ended in tragedy Sunday morning.
Police were called to the Westin Hotel at Canal Place after a shot was fired inside of the room on the 17th floor.
Police said one of the four men, a 23-year-old, said he was awakened from sleep around 5 a.m. when the other three men came in from a night of partying.
The 23-year-old man and a 25-year-old man went to sleep but said they were awakened when another one of the men was heard telling the last of the group to 'put the gun down.'
The 23-year-old man said he then saw their 20-year-old friend pointing a gun at the other man. He said the 20-year-old appeared to be dazed and confused and that after a few moments, he fired the gun, striking the other man in the chest.
At that time the 23-year-old witness and his 25-year-old friend ran from the room and called for help.
SWAT teams arrived and attempted to enter the room but the gunman pointed his weapon at the officers, who established a perimeter. Around 9:30 a.m., SWATmembers entered the room after hearing a gunshot and found the gunman unresponsive, from an apparent self-inflicted wound.
'We ended up making entry, and at the point we found we had two victims,' said NOPD Captain Jeff Walls. 'One was deceased, and one had two gunshots wounds.'
The shooting victim was rushed to the hospital and was said to be stable. The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene. The names of the victims have not been released until next of kin can be notified.
Police said two guns were found in the room. During the SWAT operation, some hotel guests were asked to leave for safety reasons.
Clay Walker, who was visiting from Nashville, said he and his wife were hoping for a peaceful time in the city and an early morning breakfast.
They got more than what they bargained for when they learned a gunman was holed up in the hotel.
'We got a little bit more than what we expected,' he said. 'Went right through the SWAT team. I just wasn't expecting that on a Sunday morning.'