Mayor Landrieu expresses support for NOPD after most violent day of the year

Mayor Landrieu expresses support for NOPD after most violent day of the year

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is urging citizens to come forward, after the most violent day of the year.

The death toll rose to three people killed, 10 wounded in five incidents, and victims' friends are in shock.

In an Algiers neighborhood, sadness over the loss of a young man, who appeared to have a bright future.

"He was a good kid, did what his mom asked, looked after his sister," said Pilar Turner, who watched 21-year-old former St Augustine kicker Zach Nelson grow up. He mowed most of the lawns in their tidy Algiers neighborhood, volunteered at senior centers and stayed close with his family.

"His mom raised him very respectfully," said Turner.

Nelson, was one of three fatalities in a shooting near Tulane Avenue, Saturday morning, which occurred with police near the Mid City Event Center.

"The response from Friday night's incident came from units within earshot, within half a block of where the violence erupted," said New Orleans police superintendent Michael Harrison.

Chief Harrison says the event center was holding an unlicensed party, and though police didn't shut it down, he says they were performing traffic control before the gunfire began.

"Those officers were moving cars out of the area, when the violence erupted," said Harrison.

The Tulane incident was just the start of one of the most violent days of the year.

"The recent uptick is concerning, and we are not going to relent," said Mayor Landrieu.

Two hours after the Tulane shootings, a 35-year-old man was shot in the 7th Ward, as he got into a car. Later in the day, a 64-year-old man was found shot in a van in Central City.  Then around 11:10 p.m., four people were shot as they walked away from a party in the 6600 block of Foch.

"Today I asked the chief, and deputy chiefs to come in and brief me on the incidents," said Landrieu.

Sunday afternoon, a show of  force from the mayor, and the NOPD in the face of another spike in violence.

"We've seen a startling uptick but we are undeterred," said Harrison.

The mayor says the silence after these incidents, is deafening.

"In this age of social media it's impossible to believe there are no witnesses to these crimes," said Landrieu.

And he says in spite of the recent spike, murders remain relatively low.

"As of now, the murder rate is lower than it was in 1996 and 24 % lower than when we got here," said Landrieu, referring to when he took office seven years ago.

Harrison says the department had nearly a third more police officers, when the late, former chief Richard Pennington cut the murder rate in half in the mid 90's.

"Pennington had a staff of 1600 officers," said Harrison.

"No one would argue we need more officers, so we can spread officers around," said Dillard criminologist Ashraf Esmail, PhD.

For friends of Zach Nelson, the loss is personal.

"It's really hurtful," said Turner.

Police report no leads in their investigation.

New Orleans police say they are actively working to remove guns from the street, and have confiscated more than 700 since the first of the year. They also say pro active police stops are up. They ask if you know anything about the Tulane avenue shooting, or any other crimes, to call Crimestoppers at 504 822-1111.

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