Australian students shot while visiting New Orleans

Australian students shot while visiting New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New Orleans police now say three men are responsible for shooting a pair of Australian tourists. It happened just before 5 a.m. Tuesday at L.B. Landry Avenue and Shepard Street in Algiers.

Investigators say the two students were in a bar in the 500 block of Bourbon Street when they asked to buy drugs from an unknown man. They told detectives they then left the bar, got in a car with another man and headed to the west bank. Once there, a third man demanded money.

"At some point at the west bank there was an encounter there. We learned through our investigation it was presumably about purchasing drugs. At some point the encounter became physical, and both of them were shot," said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison.

The following is from an NOPD news release:

"The driver took the two victims toward Algiers and along the way, he told them that it would cost several hundred dollars to purchase drugs. The victims told the driver they did not have the money available. When they arrived at L.B. Landry Avenue and Shepard Street, the pair said they exited the vehicle and were approached by another unknown male who demanded their money. When they told him they didn't have it, the unknown male shot them both and then jumped in the vehicle with the unknown driver and fled the scene."

The students attend Curtin University in Western Australia. The school posted this media release on its website:

Early this morning Curtin University was advised that two Curtin WA School of Mines (WASM) students visiting the United States had sustained gunshot wounds during an incident in New Orleans.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said both students were now in hospital and were reported to be in a stable condition. 

"Both students' families have been contacted and are arranging to travel to the US," Professor Terry said. 

The University is providing support and assistance to the injured students and their families. Support is also being provided to the others in the group who were not in the vicinity of the shooting and are unharmed.

Curtin WA School of Mines Director Professor Sam Spearing is flying to New Orleans tonight to provide support to the students and their families. 

The students were in the United States as part of the WASM Wombats team which participated in the Intercollegiate Mining Games held in Montana. The Games had finished and a group of students went to New Orleans on a private holiday.

"This is a very distressing situation and our thoughts are with the injured students and their families. Curtin will continue to provide all the support it can to all those involved," Professor Terry said.

Both male students are recovering in the hospital. The 21-year-old was shot in the chest; the 23-year-old was shot in the stomach.

"If there is someone who knows what happened or who these people may have met with we'd like them to give us a call, we'd like them to call Crimestoppers and provide that information so we can solve this and bring the person who did this to justice," said Harrison.

The NOPD says the students got into a four door dark-colored sedan. Again, if you have any information that can help, call Crimestoppers at 822-1111.

Copyright WVUE 2016. All rights reserved.