NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - It didn't take long for word to spread overseas after two Australian university students were shot in Algiers early Wednesday morning.
New Orleans police said a 21-year-old victim was shot in the chest and a 23-year-old victim was shot in the stomach. Both are men recovering at University Medical Center in New Orleans.
Hospital officials say they have gotten several calls from Australian media outlets about the victims' conditions.
"At some point, the encounter became physical and both of them were shot. One is in critical. One is stable," New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said. "What we know right now is that one going to pull through. One is a little uncertain, but they are still working on him but that's our latest update."
Police said the incident started when the two students approached a man at The Swamp bar in the 500 block of Bourbon Street to buy drugs. Investigators say the man brought the Australians to a dark-colored sedan driven by another man who took them to Algiers.
A third man shot the students after a dispute about money, according to police.
"We learned through our investigation it was presumably about purchasing drugs," Harrison said.
"If you go looking for trouble, you're going to find it. If you go out looking for drugs, you're going to find people that are drug dealers, and you never know what they're into," tourist Michael Bray said.
"I don't think it is the expectation that you can just go to a country and by random person's car, go and buy drugs. Obviously, you're going to get people like that," tourist Shibly Mahamoor said.
Bourbon Street tourists voiced concerns knowing that criminals are preying on visitors, especially when thousands are expected to flood the city for this weekend's French Quarter Festival.
"Every time someone tries to come talk to you, you've got to think - are they really being friendly, or are they trying to be friendly to get something out of you?" said tourist Aikehl McTush. "You just have to be smart about what you're doing."