NEW ORLEANS - The mother of a 16-year-old girl killed in a mass drive-by shooting is relieved now that the alleged gunman and a suspected accomplice are behind bars.
'I'm so grateful they caught them. We're rejoicing today,' said Terrell Reese, the mother of shooting victim Jasmine Anderson. 'I know my child is going to rest in peace. I'm going to miss her.'
Blair Taylor, 20, is charged with two counts of first degree murder and five counts of attempted first degree murder in a drive by shooting that killed Anderson and Terrance McBride, 33. Five others, including a mother and two young children, were wounded.
Police also charged Jeffery Rivers, 25, as a principal to the crime. They believe he supplied the murder weapon and getaway car. Police say they found both at Taylor's apartment in New Orleans East.
But NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said he is frustrated that Taylor was out on the streets in the first place.
'Taylor has an arrest history that reminds us over and over and over again, if you are a young man in the city of New Orleans, and you are involved in drugs and guns, the chances of you receiving a consequence appear to be none,' said Serpas.
Records show Taylor was arrested just five months ago on charges of simple battery and violating protective orders.
Taylor pleaded no contest, and municipal court Judge Sean Early gave him one-year inactive probation and a 120-day suspended sentence.
In August 2013, the same judge gave Taylor a separate 120-day sentence for another simple battery charge. Plus, Taylor pleaded no contest to possession of marijuana and an illegal weapon for which he received a 30-day sentence, with credit for time served.
The district attorney's office said in that case, Taylor was a passenger in a car in which police found a burned marijuana cigarette and a handgun, both misdemeanor charges that were passed to municipal court.
In 2013 and 2012, the district attorney's office decided not to move forward with charges of aggravated battery and auto theft due to lack of evidence.
Now, a grieving mother, relieved her daughter's alleged killer has been caught, hopes this time the system keeps him off the streets.
'If he hadn't been out there on the street, my child would be here,' said Reese.
The district attorney's office accepts nearly 85 percent of cases from NOPD, a vast improvement over previous district attorneys in Orleans Parish. But District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro emphasizes that his office needs the public's cooperation in order to build strong cases.
Both Serpas and Cannizzaro have said they support stricter policies for illegal weapons convictions.
Funeral arrangements have been set for Anderson. She will be laid to rest at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 23 at Reaping the Harvest church in the Lower 9th Ward.
You can donate to the Jasmine Anderson memorial fund, which will help her family pay for funeral arrangements, at any Iberia Bank.