10 wounded in ‘sense­less’ New Or­leans shoot­ing ram­page

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - John Ba­con

shoot­ing ram­page near the famed French Quar­ter of New Or­leans early Sun­day left 10 peo­ple wounded, revel­ers from an an­nual foot­ball game scram­bling for cover and po­lice in pur­suit of at least one “cow­ardly” gun­man.

New Or­leans Po­lice Depart­ment Su­per­in­ten­dent Shaun Fer­gu­son said the shoot­ing erupted on Canal Street near Bour­bon Street, an area crowded with tourists and po­lice of­fi­cers – even at 3:20 a.m. Two of the in­jured were hos­pi­tal­ized in crit­i­cal con­di­tion. No of­fi­cers were among the wounded, he said.

One per­son was de­tained near the scene, but Fer­gu­son said he did not yet know what role, if any, the per­son had in the shoot­ing. No ar­rests had been made.

“What hap­pened in our city overnight was a cow­ardly and sense­less act that we can­not and will not tol­er­ate,” Fer­gu­son said. “While this in­ves­ti­ga­tion is in the very be­gin­ning stages, one thing is cer­tain – we will not stop un­til we iden­tify and ar­rest those re­spon­si­ble.”

Fer­gu­son said a heavy po­lice pres­ence was in the area be­cause the an­nual Bayou Clas­sic foot­ball game be­tween Gram­bling State Univer­sity and South­ern Univer­sity was Satur day. The game his­tor­i­cally draws a huge crowd to the city.

Three years ago, one per­son was killed and nine oth­ers in­jured in a shoot­ing spree on Bour­bon Street hours af­ter the game.

On Sun­day, “some in­di­vid­u­als chose to do the wrong thing at the wrong time,” Fer­gu­son said. Po­lice ini­tially said 10 peo­ple were wounded, raised the num­ber to 11 and then dropped it back to 10. Few other de­tails were re­leased, how­ever.

“We had of­fi­cers right there, within that very block, that ac­tu­ally thought they were be­ing fired on,” Fer­gu­son said. “Our of­fi­cers ... were within feet when this in­ci­dent oc­curred, but un­for­tu­nately there we so many peo­ple out there we were un­able to de­ter­mine who was fir­ing these shots.”

The mo­tive for the shoot­ing had not been de­ter­mined, Fer­gu­son said.

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