Beating victim, neighbors march against recent violence in St. Roch

Like other parts of the city, anti-crime walks are nothing new to the St. Roch community.

Wednesday evening's walk, however, carried a heightened sense of unease – and urgency.

Separate beatings – thought to be carried out by groups of teenagers – have left many in St. Roch unnerved.

With visible bruises across his face, one of the victims, Bill Murphy, joined in the march.

"This is really serious. A lot of people in the city are really concerned about this," he said.

Murphy, who serves as Vice President of the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association, said his horror unfolded Sunday night, when he says a group of kids ambushed him, punching and kicking him repeatedly.

The assault against Murphy came hours after artist Christopher Brumfield was attacked while walking down St. Roch Avenue.

"My beating did not have to happen," Murphy said. "The perpetrators were right near the same spot where they had committed the same sort of atrocity the previous night. If we can't stop that, we're really not doing things right as a city."

For many in St. Roch, it's another frightening reminder of the police manpower shortage, although officials point to another major void.

"Where are their parents? Where are their families," said NOPD Supt. Ronal Serpas.

Serpas described the attackers as groups of 8-12 kids. He said it's unclear whether the beatings may have been gang-related.

Minutes before the anti-crime walk began, Serpas delivered a warning to those responsible.

"We're going to find out who you are. We're going to get you. We're going to bring you in front of a juvenile court or criminal court, depending on how old you are, and you're going to be held accountable," he said.

In the meantime, police encourage neighbors to band together to help take back the streets of St. Roch. Some participating in Wednesday's walk vowed to do their part. Still, the anxiety continues.

"People are very upset," said resident Darla Rumley. "Everyone is upset. They're frightened. Some are just extremely scared."

Follow FOX 8:    

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.