A Bourbon Street shooting early Sunday morning left nine people injured, two critically,
in the latest incident of New Orleans gun violence penetrating even the city’s most iconic thoroughfare.
Some of the nine people injured in a shootout between two young men on New Orleans’ historic Bourbon Street were tourists, police said.
New Orleans police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said “two cowardly young men” were responsible for the carnage, which sent bystanders diving into bustling bars and nightclubs for cover, and others crawling into open storefronts as they bled.
Police are still working to gather a description of the suspects.
“This is a heinous crime,” Serpas said. “This is two young men, both armed with firearms, who chose to settle a dispute between themselves without a moment’s care for anyone else.”
He went on to say investigators are unsure if the two apparent shooters were wounded. One witness told WWL-TV that the shooting at about 2:45 a.m. Sunday apparently with a quarrel between the two young men and then escalated.
“He seemed pissed off at some dude, pulled a gun out and started shooting at the guy, then turned around on the crowd and started shooting at us” an unnamed witness said.
In a statement issued Sunday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the “No. 1 priority is to keep New Orleans safe. These kinds of incidents will not go unanswered.”
At an afternoon news conference, the city’s police chief pledged, “We’re going to catch these two little….uh, young men. And we’re going to hold them accountable and bring them to justice.”
Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, responding to the mass shooting on Bourbon street, said any violence, especially involving tourists, is concerning. But, he added, “I don’t believe this one incident will keep people from coming to the city of New Orleans.
Dardenne said New Orleans’ worst crime areas were usually outside the French Quarter, but, “This is obviously a glaring exception.”
Tourism officials put on a brave face in reacting to Sunday’s incident. Stephen Perry, president of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Mark Romig, his counterpart at the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, issued a joint statement.
“Tragedies of violence are impacting cities across our country,” the statement said. “And while this is a crucial, challenging issue for our community, we are encouraged by the initiatives and priority Landrieu and his administration have given it.”
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