Reward doubled in murder of Americorps worker - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Reward doubled in murder of Americorps worker

Joseph Massenburg Joseph Massenburg

The federal community service program Americorps says it's made no decision as to when two teams of workers might return to the New Orleans area, after a member of one of those teams was gunned down in Leonidas one week ago.

New Orleans police are reporting new information on the crime, which happened in a neighborhood where gunfire is frequent and residents say they often duck for cover.

They came to the area, also known as West Carrollton, to rebuild.  "Got big dogs, I thought I'd be safe but this is crazy," said resident Brett Newkirk.

Now these men worry about all-too-common gunfire and barrages of bullets, including a double shooting just Saturday.

In the 1400 block of Monroe Street Saturday, bullets fired from a rolling, white four-door SUV struck two people about a block apart, and barely missed over a dozen kids.

"There was a kids party going on, 20 kids and the bullets went through the bounce house, hit the house but thank God, didn't hit the kids," said Newkirk

Two blocks away and two days later, police gathered for a big announcement at the scene of another shooting one week ago.  That incident claimed the life of an Americorps volunteer named Joseph Massenburg.

"In this case we've only gotten three or four calls. We need people to think about that," said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

The Monday news conference to raise the reward in the Massenburg murder to $5000 was held in front of a house riddled with bullets from yet another shooting two weeks ago.

Americorps has still not put back in place two 20-person crews, pulled out after Massenburg's murder on April 1.  The Green Light energy conservation program he was working on remains in limbo.

But a spokeswoman for the volunteer group say they remain committed to New Orleans, and still have 900 workers in place here.

After a couple of calls and a vigil for Massenburg, police now have a vague description of a suspect vehicle.  NOPD Detective Robert Barrere said, "We got a number of leads involving a white four-door SUV involved in this investigation."

But after a rash of shootings and two murders within a four-block area, fear runs high.

John Wilson said, "Absolutely, I'm spending half the days in the bathtub.  When things like this happen you hit the safest spot in the house."

Without more police, residents worry the gunfire won't die down.

Again, if you have any information on the Massenburg shooting, call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.

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