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'Tornado of crime' - residents worried as 2 severe beatings just latest in crime wave

The city will have additional resources from JPSO, State Police and feds for this weekend's Final Four.

NEW ORLEANS — Home security video shows a man walking a bicycle down the 1000 block of Touro Street last Monday.  At some point he crosses the street, attacks, then robs a local resident in the Marigny. 

Felipe Fischer says his cameras show the suspect stalking his victim for at least two blocks. 

“Waiting to get him in a dark area where there was nobody around, so he can pounce on him, beat him unmercifully and leave him for dead,” Fischer said. “The victim was stalked like a dog in the night.” 

The victim survived the brutal attack. 

Police say the suspect, 37-year-old William Lewis struck another person several times with a blunt object and robbed him near Barracks and Burgundy Streets in the French Quarter early Friday morning. 

The beating left the visitor from Kentucky with “traumatic head injuries.” 

According to the NOPD, Lewis was arrested and booked on charges of armed robbery, second-degree robbery, attempted murder and obstruction following the two violent incidents. 

Rhonda Findley with New Orleans Safe, started a petition drive to get city leaders to request help from the National Guard. So far, the petition on petition.org, has received 5,000 signatures.  

“We’re in a crisis,” Findley said We’re in a tornado of crime and it’s time to bring in support. We have the guard here at Jackson Barracks.  

New Orleans is getting help from the Louisiana State Police, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and federal law enforcement agencies this weekend for the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament in the Caesar’s Superdome. 

“You’re going to see a large presence of officers throughout this weekend in the downtown area, the entire weekend,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said.  

Monday, city leaders discussed public safety preparations for the big event. Chief Ferguson is asking basketball fans to leave their guns at home. 

“That’s a heck of a combination, food, spirits and a weapon,” Ferguson said. “There’s absolutely no reason to bring a weapon to the streets of New Orleans.” 

Neighbors are asking for stepped up police presence on a daily basis, not just for large events. 

“If we want our children to enjoy the playground, we need increased police presence,” Findley said. “If we want our neighbors to be able to come into the house with groceries, we need police presence.” 

This weekend, the city is also bringing in additional street lighting towers and closing off much of the French Quarter to vehicle traffic. 

The Final Four is expected to bring more than 75,000 basketball fans to New Orleans this weekend. 

RELATED: 2 hospitalized, 'brutally attacked' in French Quarter, Marigny

RELATED: Two shootings in metro area Saturday night

 

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