Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Each month the murder toll climbs. Right now, New Orleans is at 165, and a check of police records reveals less than half of those killings have been solved.

However, those are just numbers.

'There he is again, and this is my youngest,' Keaun Canty said while flipping through a family photo album in her parent's Gentilly living room.

The mother of three pointing out snapshots of Marc Canty, III. The 18-year-old was full of big dreams. He was chasing a business degree at Tulane and wanted to work for himself.

'He went to Christ First Christian Academy where he graduated from in 2011. He was actually in the top five of the school. He was doing the right thing,' said Canty.

Besides school, being a loving big brother to two younger siblings was also a top priority. So was Marc's love of music and drumming.

'The hardest thing is waking up to nothing. That person not being there anymore. That's the worst feeling in the world,' said Canty, choking back tears.

No parent should have to hear their child's last moments on earth. Keaun Canty did after she got a call from her son almost five months ago.

According to family members, the teen said he was being followed by an acquaintance and felt threatened. It was at his mother's urging that Marc called 911 to report his soon-to-be accused killer's identity.

'The first gunshot went off and the phone went dead. I just kept calling the phone and said something is wrong,' said Canty remembering that tragic day.

Help wouldn't come in time. Marc's mother says her unarmed son was shot in the back and would die in the 2100 block of Selma Street. The accused gunman and an accomplice (an alleged getaway driver) would later be arrested.

'This kid actually saw him, and from my understanding it was a gang initiation,' said Canty.

Marc's tragic death is just one of 165 murders so far this year in New Orleans with 2012 starting off to a violent start.

In January there were a total of 26 murders. One of those victims, 44-year-old Mike Ainsworth, was shot and killed in Algiers Point trying to help a woman being carjacked. The case's status is closed after police made an arrest.

In February there were a total of six murders. One of those victims: 29-year-old James Gould was shot and killed in the 7th Ward near North Villere and Annette Streets. That case remains open.

In March there were a total of 13 murders. One of those cases: the death of 44-year-old Royal Wilson, who was shot and killed in the 3000 block of General Ogden. The case is still open.

'End of the day every police detective in homicide wants to solve every case. Every victim's family needs closure. Every victims family needs justice,' said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

To date Serpas says his police department's murder clearance rate is at 39 percent. The Police Chief says the biggest challenge in solving murders is the community's cooperation.

'The sad reality in America and New Orleans is when a 19-year-old is killed by another 19-year-old, almost always knowing who killed them, people don't want to talk as much. That could change overnight if you had the same intensity of anger when a 2-year-old is killed as when a 19-year-old is killed,' said Serpas.

In April, 19 murders including the deaths of a young couple. KIPP students 15-year-old Brandon Adams and his girlfriend, 15-year-old Christine Marcelin, were murdered within days of each other -- on April 27 and the 30. Their murder cases are still under investigation.

In May there were a total of 16 murders. One high-profile case was the quintuple shooting on Simon Bolivar in Central City. Shots rang out at a child's birthday party injuring three people, and killing two innocent bystanders; 33-year-old Shawanna 'Nonnie' Pierce and 5-year-old Brianna Allen died. The case is now closed after NOPD made two arrests.

In June there were a total of 17 murders. Friday, June 22 marks the day that one Gentilly family's life was turned upside down. It will never be the same.

'It feels like it just happened. Everyday on the 22nd I remember everything that happened that day from the time I got the phone call to the crime scene,' said Keaun Canty.

In July there were a total of 25 murders, three of which unfolded inside an apartment in the 1900 block of Old Prieur. Police say 58-year-old Consuela 'Connie' Lewis, her son 26-year-old Kevin Lewis and his 28-year-old wife, LaChandra, were all found shot and killed. That case is still open.

'Its the guns and the drugs and the violence that is driving our crime rate problem in New Orleans,' said Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro. The district attorney says his office works closely with the NOPD to make sure solid evidence is being collected.

Cannizzaro says arrests are good, but his goal is to successfully prosecute those being arrested for murder.

'I can say that the overwhelming majority, almost 90 percent of the cases that police do bring us when they make an arrest on a homicide does result in that person being indicted,' said Cannizzaro.

In August there were a total of eight murders. One of the victims is David Crain. The 34-year-old was shot and killed in the 4200 block of General Ogden in Hollygrove. No word on any arrests.

In September there were a total of 19 murders. On Sept. 25, Jamal Christian's family found the 18-year-old's body lying near an Uptown elementary school. Police say at least one suspect was arrested in the case.

In October there were a total of 14 murders. 21-year-old Chris Lambert was shot and killed. Police say his body was found in an abandoned house in the 2500 block of Orleans Avenue. No word on any arrests.

So far this month, there have been two murders in November.

On Sunday, a man was found shot dead at the London Lodge Motel in the 9300 block of Airline Highway. Police have released very few details in the case.

According to police records, NOPD's 5th, 6th and 7th Districts have seen some of the highest shooting incidents so far this year.

'I decided to leave New Orleans to kind of protect the ones that I have left,' said Canty.

Shortly after Marc's death, Keaun decided to move her family to the Northshore, far from relatives and from the neighborhood where she grew up.

Now all this grieving mom can do is wait for her day in court and a chance to face the triggerman her son was able to name just seconds before his murder.

'I feel some kind of relief but I think justice will prevail at the end. Right now its just hard. I don't have a reason why, and I'd like to know why,' said Canty.

Read or Share this story: