NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Five suspects accused of opening fire inside Bunny Friend Playground last month are now in custody.
"Innocent people got hurt out there. This could have been worse, and so we want to send a strong message that we are coming after you," New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said.
Court documents reveal more about those accused and the alleged motive in the shooting that injured 17 people.
"There's certain gangs around the Bunny Friend park," NOPD Commander Chris Goodly said. "There's the KMG gang, Killa Mofia Gang, the Killa Squad Gang, and there's the Park Boys in the Lower Ninth Ward. Some of these individuals are cross-associated with several of the gangs."
One of the suspects, Rashad Walker, who goes by the street name is "KMG Ezzy," is in jail on a $170,000 bond. According to his arrest warrant, a witness identified Walker as the subject seated in a wheelchair inside Bunny Friend Playground and firing a semi-automatic handgun into the crowd.
Court paperwork revealed that another suspect, Malik Johnson, was arrested the night after the Bunny Friend Playground shooting, picked up on an unrelated charge as police were investigating as many as 20 shots fired near Rosemont Place and Dreux Avenue. Police said on that scene, they found a man shot once in the abdomen. Johnson was picked up in that area for possession of a stolen firearm.
On Dec. 4, Johnson was developed as a suspect in shooting at Bunny Friend Playground.
"We're turning over every single stone," Harrison said. "We are looking everywhere, and we're asking the right questions to the right people to get answers."
Police aren't saying what led to the bloodshed at the park, but court records reveal a witness "observed a verbal altercation between two groups when they pulled out guns."
Lawrence "L" Veals, Eddie "Eazy" Copelin, and Joseph "Moe" Allen are also in custody.
Joseph Allen's mother tells FOX 8 that her son is innocent. She said he was in Texas at the time of the shooting.
"They have the wrong guy," Deborah Allen said. "I feel for those people. I know what those people are going through, but I ask you, chief, to tell your men to get back out there and do their job."
Police said their message is clear.
"The message is you cannot run," Harrison said. "You can't hide. It's just a matter of time before we find you and hold you accountable for what you did."
Three others are still wanted, and the NOPD said its investigation is ongoing.
"There may be more, and if there are, we are going to find them because we are not going to give up," Harrison said.