NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A woman shot nine times while smoking on her front porch in the 3100 block of Belfort Avenue is fighting for her life at University Medical Center in New Orleans.
"This is the worst thing that could happen to a mother. You can't imagine seeing your baby all shot up with holes in her body," said the victim's mother Ramona Stewart.
Stewart's daughter remains in intensive care as of Friday night.
"There is one bullet that is still in the neck that's by the main artery, one in each shoulder. She's shot in the buttocks, four in the stomach," Stewart said. "They had to remove the spleen for internal bleeding. They had no choice."
Medical bills are expected to reach the tens of thousands - and maybe more. The family has set up a gofundme account to help with expenses.
At this time, the New Orleans Police Department has not released any information about the shooting other than to say a woman was shot and sent to the hospital.
"These perpetrators need to turn their lives to God, but God is still going to see that justice is done to them. They still have to be punished," Stewart said. "I lost my husband, and my daughter is my world. It's very difficult."
"From what I know so far, this is a situation where a woman went out to smoke a cigarette on her porch and was shot nine times," said the victim's friend, Stan Sholtt. "People are robbed over phones. To this element, my life is entirely worthless."
The shooting shocks and confuses people who live in the area. Many call the victim a staple of the community, whose heart and generosity is as big as they come.
"She lived in an adjacent neighborhood, but there are no walls up here. So all of us around the Fair Grounds, whether it's Fairgrounds Triangle, De Saix, or Faubourg St. John, we should all be concerned," Fairgrounds Triangle Neighborhood Association member Morgan Clevenger said.
That concern is not only for crime, but for what neighbors say is a lack of visibility when it comes to paid Fair Grounds patrols. By ordinance, two off-duty police officers are supposed to patrol the area around the Fair Grounds 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Residents are not convinced that is happening.
"Would this neighborhood be safer? Would all three neighborhoods be safer if the Fair Grounds patrol was more visible? Absolutely," Clevenger said.