NEW ORLEANS — One of two brothers arrested on multiple attempted second-degree murder charges in connection with a Mother's Day second-line shooting says neither he nor his brother were involved.
Shawn Scott, 24, the older brother of Akein Scott, was arrested shortly after his brother Thursday morning. He was being walked by police and told reporters that the brothers were innocent.
The arrests ended a nearly three-day hunt for those suspected of firing into the crowd of hundreds.
New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas identified the brothers as 19-year-old Akein Scott and his 24-year-old brother Shawn on Thursday, speaking from the corner of Frenchmen and North Villere streets, the same place where the shooting happened.
“There’s no question that we believe the Scott brothers came here with a purpose and with a plan and acted cowardly,” Serpas said. “There were people that we are sure they were trying to hurt.”
Four others – Justin Alexander, 19; Bionca Hickerson, 22; Nekia Youngblood, 32; and Brandy George, 28 – were arrested for harboring Akein Scott while knowing he was on the lam for three days, Serpas said.
Akein Scott was arrested late Wednesday night in the Little Woods neighborhood of New Orleans East. By 11 a.m. Thursday, magistrate judge Gerard Hansen handed down a $10 million bail, or $500,000 for each of the 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder.
“This is a clear signal that this type of disregard for human life on the streets of New Orleans is always unacceptable,” Landrieu said. “I have no doubt that DA Leon Cannizzaro will prosecute him with every available resource that we have.”
Shawn Scott also was charged with 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder, Serpas said, as well as with heroin and other drug charges after police found them in the house he was arrested in Thursday. His bond was set at $10,091,000.
Tips from CrimeStoppers helped lead police to the Scott brothers, Serpas said.
“The message to these gang members – you can’t scare nobody anymore and you have no idea who calls us now,” Serpas said “ When we say to you we know about you more than you think, it’s the truth.”
The Scott brothers are believed to be a part of the Frenchmen/Derbigny Boys gang and that NOPD has found a connection between them and other crimes the department will discuss in more detail at a future date, Serpas said.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, meanwhile, mentioned the recent arrests of members of the 110 gang in saying a strategy is in place for shutting down gangs in the city.
“The rules of the game have changed on the streets of New Orleans,” Landrieu said. “We are demanding that the shooting stop and we will make sure that we do everything in our power, which I hope people now see as substantial, to make sure that we protect the citizens of New Orleans.”
“The Frenchmen and Derbigny Boys have been here since many of us were young officers. It’s just generational,” Serpas said. “They don’t do it because of any other reason than it’s their choice and we’re going to interrupt them and we’re going to break them apart.”
During the younger Scott’s court appearance, in which entered the courtroom with extra security while wearing a smile and an orange Orleans Parish Prison jumpsuit, his attorneys said their client was not talking to police.
Police obtained a warrant for Akein Scott’s arrest after a witness to the shooting at the Original Big 7 second line shooting fingered him as the assailant, court records show.
According to the May 13 arrest warrant, detectives compiled a six-photograph panel of suspects that included a recent photograph of Scott along with five other people with “similar physical and facial features.”
A witness to the shooting identified him in the panel, telling detectives they saw him armed with a silver and black handgun at the parade, the warrant shows.
Scott was captured in New Orleans East late Wednesday night after eluding police for three days. He was brought to Orleans Parish Prison at 2 a.m. after hours of questioning at a district police office.
The younger Scott was out on bond when allegedly opened fire on a crowd of hundreds in the Seventh Ward. He was scheduled to be at a court hearing Thursday for prior charges of illegal carrying of a weapon while being possession of a controlled substance. He was released on April 29 for that charge after making a $15,000 bond that Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said was too low.
Thursday morning, prosecutors asked for Scott’s bond to be increased or be withdrawn in relation to those charges.
Cannizzaro’s office vowed that Scott will face many years behind bars when all is said and done.
In the beginning of the investigation, the New Orleans Police Department said three suspects were spotted running from the scene. Attention has been focused on Scott, but on Thursday morning, sources said police are now searching for a second gunman. The New Orleans Police Department plans to hold a press conference on Thursday.
The shooting at the second line parade occurred around 1:45 p.m. Sunday just as the procession was getting underway. Less than 24 hours later, investigators released the surveillance video of the shooting, which showed a man opening fire on the crowd.
Around 8:30 p.m. Monday, police were able to tie Akein Scott’s name with the face in the video thanks to eyewitness tips. They then put out a call for help from the community to locate him.
Some of the shooting victims are still being hospitalized. One remained in fair condition at Tulane. Out of four victims at University, one is stabilized and no longer in the ICU. One victim remains in critical condition in ICU, as two victims have been moved out of ICU to regular rooms.
The Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club organizers will hold another Mother's Day second line on June 1 at 1 p.m. It will follow the original route.