NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Police were in the process of breaking up a large crowd moments before a shooting left three people dead and two others injured in Mid City.
According to police, it happened in the 3700 block of Tulane Avenue outside of the Mid City Event Center around 12:38 a.m. Saturday morning.
"It was mass confusion," NOPD First District Commander Hans Ganthier said. "We had shots fired at an event that was being held here at the Mid City Event Center. It was a large gathering. We had police officers about a half block away."
Mallory Leblanc, a co-founder of the Mid City Tulane Banks Neighborhood Association, was just blocks away when she heard the gunfire and then saw the crowd scatter through the neighborhood.
"It was like a mass exodus of people that were just running up Cortez, going down D'Hemecourt, up Telemachus, and then vehicles going every which way up the wrong way and everything," Leblanc said.
Investigators say one person was found in the 600 block of Telemachus Street.
In surveillance video obtained by FOX 8, three people are seen walking down Telemachus before one man collapses about a block away from the shooting in the 600 block of the street.
Another victim was found inside a vehicle at Banks near Telemachus Streets. According to NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison, the third victim later passed away at a local hospital.
"The car was still on, so we suspected that someone was inside. It was kind of in between the road and the parking space," a man who lives nearby the location said.
The tragic scene was a somber reminder that violence is beginning to find a home in the neighborhood.
"I'm just kind of numb again at this point. Another mass shooting within a year, you know. We had the mass shooting last October, we had the first murder of the year on January 1st on D'Hemecourt and Cortez, we just had the one in April right here on South Scott Street, and now this one again. I mean how many more murders do we have to have in this area and in New Orleans in general for it to stop," Leblanc said.
Saturday afternoon, homicide investigators combed through multiple areas in Mid City looking for clues and gathering surveillance video.
In a letter sent to city council members and residents of the neighborhood, Commander Ganthier wrote: "the tragic events that occurred early this morning not only take an emotional toll on the neighborhood residents and businesses but also on the First District Police personnel and the NOPD leadership and we are all deeply disturbed by this senseless violence."
He went on to detail the plans the NOPD would take to secure the neighborhood including adding manpower and approving additional overtime for first district patrols.
Commander Ganthier also put a target on business he called problematic in the neighborhood.
He wrote his district would: "Continue to address the problematic Ulloa Playhouse and Car wash and now the Mid City Events Center. We will meet with the City Attorney again specifically about this Event Hall. Hopefully, the Neighborhood Business Associations are able to address the owners of this business and hold them accountable for their transgressions and the effect they are having to the immediate area."
Neighborhood leaders hope that message reaches City Hall.
"We actually now need to see the progress with the city officials contacting us as the neighborhood group and its citizens in this community and saying we're going to have a City Council meeting about this in this problem businesses in this problem properties and said holding these nuisances accountable I'm ready to hear from them," Leblanc said. "[The police are] doing everything they can with the manpower that they have. I just feel hopeless, it's sad."
One male victim is listed in critical condition. The other two injured victims, an adult male, and a juvenile male, both have injuries that are not considered to be life-threatening.
If you have information that can help contact NOPD homicide or Crimestoppers at 822-1111.