NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Police arrested a 17-year-old suspect just 30 minutes after he allegedly shot a woman at a downtown bus stop Wednesday. The woman is expected to survive.
The shooting happened just after 3 p.m. in the 100 block of S. Rampart Street.
The suspect, Eric French, told detectives that he and an unknown male named "Buck" were involved in a verbal altercation in the block. French said Buck produced a gun and tried to fire it, but the gun jammed. French said he then produced a pistol and fired a shot at Buck. He then ran toward Elk Place, where he boarded the Morrison Road RTA bus headed to New Orleans East.
Just before 3:30 p.m., French got off the bus in the 4900 block of Chef Menteur Highway and tried to run but was apprehended by Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's deputies. The deputies also recovered a .22 caliber pistol from French's back pocket.
French was booked into Central Lockup on charges of aggravated battery by shooting and illegal possession of a gun.
Police said the 44-year-old victim is in critical but stable condition. Eighth District Commander Jeffrey Walls said the woman has a through-and-through gunshot wound to the right breast and an entry wound in her arm. Friends said she works in the area and was on her way home when she was shot.
Walls said the scene of the shooting, which is just blocks from the Carnival parade route, is known for drug activity and other crimes. But he insisted parade-goers would be safe when the krewes of Nyx and Druids rolled Wednesday night.
"We'll have plenty of officers out here for that, you know, we're set up for that," he said. "We're set up for every parade, for that matter. We take an aggressive stance on this. We won't tolerate it."