Crimestoppers tipline curiously quiet in Australian students shooting case

Crimestoppers tipline curiously quiet in Australian students shooting case

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "I was shocked because this is really a quiet neighborhood," says Carla Ware.

Ware was inside her Algiers home around 5 a.m. Tuesday when she realized something terrible had happened just outside.

"I just saw the flashing lights and I came out on the porch. When I did come out, they were picking them up," says Ware.

Two Australian students, identified by Australian media outlets as 23 year old Jack Rovacsek and 21 year old Toben Clements, were shot.

Ware says both were lying on the sidewalk not moving as paramedics worked to transport them to the hospital.

"That's sad," says Ware.

The students are now recovering in the hospital. One was shot in the stomach and the other in the chest in what may have been a botched drug deal.

Police say the tourists were at The Swamp on Bourbon St. when they asked an unknown man to help them buy drugs. Investigators says they left the bar, got into a car with another man and headed to Algiers.

Once on the west bank, they stopped at L.B. Landry and Sheppard St., where a third man demanded money.

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

The students attend Curtin University in Western Australia. According to the University, the students were in the United States to compete in the intercollegiate mining games in Montana. The games had finished and a group of students went to New Orleans on a private holiday.

Police are asking the public for help to find the three men responsible for the shooting, but so far, no one has called in a tip to Crimestoppers.

"No one deserves to be treated that way, and it's very frustrating that no one yet has made that phone call," says Darlene Cusanza.

Cusanza, with Crimestoppers, wants to stress that tipsters can remain anonymous. She says all police need is the information.

"So, there's no way that you have to fear retaliation, but you can play a major part in solving this case," says Cusanza.

There's a $2,500 reward in this case.

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