NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Back in July of this year, Gavonte Lampkin was shot and killed, but it wasn’t the first time he’d been shot.
“In June of 2016, Mr. Lampkin was shot and wounded by four individuals. He survived the gunshot wounds,” District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said.
Five months later, in November of 2016, Lampkin was shot again, and again, he survived.
“In both cases, Lampkin was able to identify the four people who shot him in June of 2016 as well as the two people that shot him in November of 2016,” Cannizzaro said.
Cannizzaro said in all, five people were charged in the shootings. He said 29-year-old Christopher Butler was involved in both. Lampkin was set to testify against them at trial.
“When he was murdered, we believe around July of 2018, that left our case with no one to come forward and testify against these individuals. As a result of that, we were unfortunately forced to [abandon] this case,” Cannizzaro said.
The D.A.’s office dismissed the case earlier this week, and the suspects were released.
Cannizzaro believes the shootings were meant to quiet Lampkin, and he said his office tried to offer him help through the witness assistance program.
“I have to say, unfortunately, that his participation with the program initially was sporadic at best. There was not always a constant flow of communication. Ultimately, it got to a point where we lost all contact with this man whatsoever,” Cannizzaro said.
He points out that four of the five people arrested in the first shooting were out on bond and roaming the streets when Lampkin was shot a second time, and then when he was killed.
The NOPD arrested two men, Michael Robinson and Kirk Powell, in Lampkin’s death. Neither Robinson nor Powell were part of the group originally accused of shooting him, but Cannizzaro said the investigation continues.
“The murder case is still under investigation. The police are still working on that, and we are working with the police department in connection with the murder of Mr. Lampkin. That case is still an open case, and we are pursuing that,” says Cannizzaro said.