Officials update Mother's Day second line shooting



NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas discusses the Mothers Day second line shooting.
  • NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas discusses the Mother's Day second line shooting.

New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and federal authorities gathered outside NOPD headquarters this afternoon to provide updates following the shooting at a second line yesterday that injured 19 people, three critically.

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said most of the wounds were "superficial, glancing wounds," though those that remain in critical condition faced "direct gunshot wounds."

"We have no ability to give you the condition of persons who went through surgery today, but we know they’re still receiving medical attention," Serpas said.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether there was more than one gunman at the scene, and if there was more than one weapon. "Ballistic evidence is giving us very good leads to work on," Serpas said.

5th District detectives Robert Hurst and Rayell Johnson "have worked virtually nonstop since yesterday afternoon," Serpas said, later adding, "I can assure whoever did this, we know a lot more about you than you think we do. My recommendation is to collect yourself and turn yourself into the nearest police facility, DA’s office or anywhere you may want." Serpas later added that NOPD has not ruled out that the shooting was motivated by gang activity.

Crimestoppers and the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Crimestoppers' executive director Darlene Cusanza told Gambit the organization has received almost 30 tips as of noon Monday. She said any information helps. "You may not think it’s important," she said."We’re just going to urge everyone else to take the time, think about what you saw, and make that phone call."

"Please call if you know anything," Serpas said, adding that any cell phone or video footage can be forwarded to NOPD or "DEA, FBI, ATF — whoever you feel comfortable with. Please forward that information."

"I don’t think anyone who lives in the city of New Orleans wants to know something that could help us solve this case," Serpas said. "Think about the young children hurt. … If you have information that could help us, I know you want to tell us."

"All the federal government is here to make the city safer," said Phillip Durham, New Orleans ATF special agent in charge. "We want everyone to know they’ve got the full force of government as well as state and local to try and stop this violence."

When asked how the gunman managed to flee the scene, Serpas said NOPD procedure is to "render aid and criminal investigation at the same time."

"You can imagine at this corner with a couple hundred people and suddenly everyone starts running," he said. "The first priority is to try and render aid to the people who have been injured and shot. The other officers began setting up perimeters and broadcasting descriptions and did the best they could while the 5th District came to back up the parade detail officers. At the end of the day our first responsibility is to do anything we can to protect life. Obviously with that many people getting hurt and falling down, our officers were making sure that they were taking care of that first."

Serpas said the shooting has not changed NOPD's second line procedure — he also reiterated the cultural importance of second lines. NOPD currently doubles the number of officers acting as paid detail to the second line, with 10 to 12 officers on paid detail doubled by NOPD working in the neighborhood or paralleling streets. Serpas also clarified that the shooting had nothing to do with the second line itself.

"We believe had nothing to do with the second line except it occurred near where the second line was happening," he said.

"This is a small, unusual event," he added. "This is one person, maybe more, who took it upon themselves to act out in a way that was irresponsible. We can specifically call to the people of New Orleans, to the people who live in that neighborhood, the people who support the second lines, to say we are not going to stand with that young man, we are going to call Crimestoppers, and saw who he is, where does he live, what is he doing."

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