Prison phone call may aid prosecution in Lower 9 mass shooting case

Blair Taylor, 20 (Source: OPP)
Blair Taylor, 20 (Source: OPP)
Ashley Shorts, 25 (Source: OPP)
Ashley Shorts, 25 (Source: OPP)
Jeffery Rivers, 25 (Source: OPP)
Jeffery Rivers, 25 (Source: OPP)
Joseph Nelson, 23 (Source: OPP)
Joseph Nelson, 23 (Source: OPP)

Two of the four people arrested in a drive-by shooting in the Lower Ninth Ward may have helped the prosecutor's case during a recorded jail house phone call.

In the call on the day he was arrested, suspected gunman Blair Taylor and girlfriend Ashley Shorts discuss what happened to the "hammer," a term police believe is street slang for a gun.

An arrest warrant details the conversation. In it, Taylor asks Shorts, "is the hammer still in the kitchen?" She replies, "no."

Taylor then asks if she brought the "hammer" somewhere. She tells him she didn't get a chance. When Taylor asks where it is, Shorts tells him, "they got it," to which he replies, "ah, man."

According to the warrant, police found the Smith and Wesson .9 mm hidden on top of kitchen cabinets in the apartment where they arrested Taylor and another man, Jeffery Rivers. Police believe Rivers supplied the gun and the car used in the drive-by.

A fourth man, Joseph Nelson, is accused of being the second gunman. Shorts was booked with obstruction of justice.

Terrence McBride, 32, and 16-year-old Jasmine Anderson died at the scene Aug. 10 in the 5400 block of Burgundy Street. Among the five other victims, two brothers, ages 2 and 4, were both shot in the head.

"It's ridiculous to have these kinds of animals, because if you can turn a gun on a child, you are not a human being," said Wayne Romain, father of one of the victims.

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro talked about the mass shooting in his State of the Criminal Justice System speech on Tuesday.

"We should sear the images of those young children into our minds as a stark reminder that our work is not over until every - and I do mean every -child in New Orleans can play safely in front of his or her home without threat of gunfire," he said.

All four suspects in the case remain in jail. A judge denied bond for Nelson, Taylor and Rivers.

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