NEW ORLEANS — The reality of the rise in violent crime hit home for several people Thursday when a teen allegedly pulled a gun, tried to rob a woman getting out of her car on a busy street in broad daylight and then shot at a good Samaritan who tried to intervene.
Police said they were looking for a black male between 15 and 18, suspected of attempted armed robbery in the 1100 block of Esplanade Avenue, near the traffic light at North Rampart Street.
A woman who works with the person who was held up spoke with WWL-TV using only her first name, Kyla, fearing the gunman would come back and try to find her.
Kyla said she was sitting in her car during a break at her job, so she could get the charger for her phone. She said a teen in a camouflage black and white hoodie and black pants came up to her car window and asked her where the bus stop was. She told him it was across the street, and he moved on, but Kyla said she noticed he had what appeared to be a gun.
Kyla said her colleague was arriving at work and had parked a few spots in front of her on the river-bound side of Esplanade. The colleague was getting out of her Buick when the teen approached her, Kyla said.
“And then all of a sudden she was running across the neutral ground screaming,” she said.
Kyla said the teen tried to rob her colleague, but a good Samaritan in a red Corvette was stopped alongside them. He had been waiting at the red light at Rampart Street, but when the cars in front of him drove away, he stayed.
“He spoke to the (teen) and said, ‘I see what you're doing.’ And he showed him his gun,” Kyla said.
Kyla said the teen shot at the Corvette, hitting the passenger side of the car. A photo of the car obtained by WWL-TV showed a bullet hole in the passenger door and the window completely blown out.
WWL-TV did reach the driver of the Corvette, but he declined to be interviewed Friday.
Nobody was hurt, but Kyla said she and her colleague are shaken to their core.
“I mean, you see it on the news, but until you actually see it in person, it really hits home and you see a human being shoot at another human being,” she said. “It brings it all to reality. And he didn't hesitate to pull that trigger at all.”
Kyla said she ducked down in her front seat as the gunman ran past her car, heading away from the river on Esplanade.
James Brooks owns a house around the corner on Marais Street. He was doing renovations when he heard the gunshots at 2:20 p.m. His home surveillance video shows a person run from Esplanade onto Marais right afterward.
“As he passed the front of my house, he said to me, ‘Call the police. Somebody shot at me,’ then said, ‘Call an ambulance.’ A little bit further down the block, he winced, grabbed his side, fell into my neighbor's fence,” Brooks recalled. “I thought he'd been shot. I immediately called 9-1-1. And in the process of me dialing 9-1-1, I kind of lost where he was and he took off running.”
Surveillance footage showed the teen running out of view on Kerlerec Street. Brooks said he was suspicious of whether the teen was really hurt because of the way he was running until he saw Brooks looking at him. Brooks said he went to look at where he was walking and found no sign of any blood.
He said he’s convinced that was the suspect.
Brooks said he keeps a gun with him at his home and he and his family have owned property in Treme for decades. And even though he’s doing major renovations to spruce up his house and planned to move his family back in there, he said this was the last straw; he's leaving.
“My family and I are looking to move into Jefferson Parish, Lakeview, somewhere that should be a little bit safer for us,” he said. “But unfortunately, this beautiful home is not going to be lived in by me right now.”