Three wounded in second-line shootings
Celebration in N.O. ends in gunfire
Monday, January 16, 2006
By Susan FinchStaff writer
Three people were wounded by gunfire Sunday afternoon on Orleans Avenue after a second-line parade that attracted thousands of people, including hurricane-displaced residents who were back in town for a day of celebration.
Police were busy Sunday night trying to figure out what prompted the shootings, which broke out at least twice between Claiborne Avenue and Broad Street, the end point of a procession that started in front of the Backstreet Cultural Museum on St. Claude Avenue. One onlooker said there were two gunmen.
The parade ended about 4 p.m., and shortly afterward police officers patrolling the parade route heard gunfire. They first found a 34-year-old man with multiple wounds at Orleans and Dorgenois Street, police spokesman Gary Flot said.
Minutes later, after more shots rang out, officers found an 18-year-old woman, 18, wounded in the leg at the Orleans and North Rocheblave Street. A man, 20, also was shot in the leg, in the same area along Orleans Avenue.
All three were admitted to local hospitals, where the 34-year-old was listed in guarded condition; the 20-year-old was in fair condition, and the 18-year-old in good condition Sunday night, Flot said. Their names were not immediately available, he said.
Violence at the fringe
Dozens of police cars moved in after the gunfire to disperse the huge crowd that gathered on Broad for what had been a festive occasion for New Orleanians determined to make their way back from temporary homes in places such as Houston and Atlanta. The Social Aid & Pleasure Club All-Star Second-Line featured clubs marching in support of New Orleans' renewal and their own role in the city's future.
"This is not what I came back here to see," said Delanda Garner, who was scheduled to head back to Houston today.
Many elderly people and children were on hand for the parade when the bullets started flying, she said. "You couldn't do nothing in this situation but pray and hope they don't get hit by an unnamed bullet," Garner said.
Since Hurricane Katrina, Houston has also been a temporary home for Chris Boykin, 33, who has three businesses in the New Orleans area, and Darrel Jenkins, 38, who works for Boh Bros. Construction Co.
Back Sunday for the first time since Katrina, both said they're determined to rebuild their lives here, though they were clearly disgusted about the violence at the fringe of the parade.
"We want to come home, but we don't want to come home to this," Jenkins said.
Too close to home
The root of incidents like the one Sunday, Jenkins said, is the tendency of some individuals to use big gatherings to retaliate against their enemies: "Out of 50 second-lines, 39 to 40 are going to have a shooting," he said. "If I've got a beef with you, I can guarantee you I'm going to see you at a second-line."
The shooting at Orleans and North Dorgenois especially affected one bystander because, she said, her brother was killed in gunfire in New Orleans 12 years ago.
Angel Green, 31, came to see the second-line from Colorado, where she has been living since Katrina blew the roof off her Algiers home.
She said she heard the shots at Orleans and North Dorgenois: "Pop, pop, pop, pop."
"I guess I was about 15 feet away," she said. Green said she did not witness the shooting itself, but a man with a black shirt, who she said did the shooting, ran past her.
"We just started ducking. A woman said, 'That's my nephew.' She fell into my arms crying. I was hysterical, me," she said.
The sight of the wounded man brought back memories of her personal tragedy, when her brother, Ernest Anderson, then 18, of Algiers, was fatally shot Aug. 26, 1993, in the 700 block of Whitney Avenue.
"It took a toll on me to see him lying down, shot up like that," she said of Sunday's victim.
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Staff writer Bob Ussery contributed to this report.
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