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Sunday, February 10, 2013

New Orleans police: 4 wounded in Bourbon street shooting

Four people were shot on the French Quarter's iconic 

Bourbon Street, sending people running as revelers 

partied Saturday night amid the countdown to Mardi 

Gras, police and bystanders said. But the party was back 

in full force hours later as crowds returned afterward. 

Two males and two females were wounded just before 


9:30 p.m. time, New Orleans police spokesman Frank B. 

Robertson said. He reported that one male was in critical 

condition and had undergone surgery, while the other 

three were in stable condition. He did not release their 

ages. 

Robertson said detectives were working to identify a 


suspect and determine a motive. A police statement said 

the shooting occurred on the French Quarter street, but 

did not provide the exact location where the shots were 

fired. He said he had no additional information 

immediately. 

"They're just piecing together what happened," he 


added. Subsequent messages left with police seeking 

more information were not immediately returned. 

The streets were crawling with bar-hopping throngs 


taking in the last weekend before Fat Tuesday, the 

enormous party that engulfs New Orleans each year with 

parades, gaudy floats and merrymakers tossing trinkets 

and beads to the crowds. 

Bourbon Street street is home to strip clubs, watering 


holes and second-floor balconies lined by people who 

throw beads to revelers below each Mardi Gras season. 

The street often gets so crowded that officers have to 

control the crowds on horseback. 

Patrick Clay, 21, an LSU student, told The Times-


Picayune he was standing on the corner of Bourbon 

Street when suddenly he saw a crowd running and 

people screaming that there was a shooting. 

"Everyone immediately started running and the cops 


immediately started running toward where people were 

running from," Clay said. "I was with a group of about 

seven people and at that point we all just kind of 

grasped hands and made our way through the crowd as 

soon as possible." 

Afterward, police moved in to investigate. Many revelers 


said they stayed hunkered down in bars and other 

establishments until police cleared them to move freely. 

WWL-TV reported that police had obtained surveillance 


video from one of the establishments as part of the 

investigation. 

"We don't know what happened but they shut down the 


entire block for an hour," Peter Manabani, an employee 

at the Rat's Hole bar, told AP as loud music thumped in 

the background. He said the block reopened shortly 

before midnight and his establishment was again 

thronged entering the early hours. 

Early Sunday there were no signs a shooting had 


occurred, as revelers had returned to party mode, 

packing the block anew amid a heavy police presence. 

Many milled about, wearing beads, drinking and 

carousing. 

"It's scary. We heard about the shooting in the cab ride 


down here and almost turned around but it's our first 

Mardi Gras and we wanted to be here," said Ashley 

Holleran, 19, of Allendale, N.J., visiting with a friend 

from New York. 

Laura Gonzalez, 21, of Baytown, Texas, said it was also 


her first Mardi Gras and she spent some time in the Fat 

Catz Bar nearby as police investigated the shooting. She 

said the bar quickly locked its doors soon after the 

shooting and wouldn't let anyone in or out while police 

kept the crime scene clear of throngs. 

Asked if it was frightening, she responded: "Not really. 


We were just locked in a bar and we weren't going to let 

this one incident wreck our party." 

Parades rolled all day Saturday but none on Bourbon 


Street because the streets are too narrow. One of the 

biggest Mardi Gras parades, the Krewe of Endymion, 

rolled down Canal Street and just skirted Bourbon Street 

a few hours before the shooting. Typically, once the 

parades end, partygoers head to the French Quarter. 

The lifeblood tourism trade is vital to New Orleans and 


Mardis Gras is one of the city's signature events, along 

with Jazz Fest and major sporting events such as the 

recent Super Bowl. Yet decades-old problems persist 

and New Orleans remains plagued by violent crime, 

including gun violence that soared after Hurricane 

Katrina clobbered the city in 2005. 

Source: The Associated Press
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