Despite violent weekend, city still on pace to break 2018 murder figures

Updated: Sep. 23, 2019 at 8:49 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - It was just like any other errand, until this witness who goes by "M" said she heard gunshots outside Monday afternoon (Sept. 23). M said when she heard the shots, she put everything in her hands back on the shelf, and started to look for a place to hide by the back door. That’s when two men with gunshot wounds walked in looking for help.

“I live on this block, so I was coming in to get a soda water and beer, nothing crazy,” she said.

M said the victims didn’t appear to be seriously hurt, as both were still standing and walking. But, with one appearing to be shot in the hand and the other in the leg, M said the scene was gruesome.

“There was blood everywhere because it was just gushing out essentially," she said.

Those two men with brought the total number of gunshot victims to 17 in just four days. Including this shooting in Treme, the NOPD is investigating eight total shooting incidents since Friday.

“There’s that first wave of tense, like you’re kind of afraid, but it turns into, ‘get it done, or do it, or just hide,’” M said.

The incident that jump-started the weekend’s violence was coincidentally the shooting with the most victims. An adult and five juveniles were shot in a car at the corner of City Park Avenue and Canal Boulevard. A 17-year-old student, Cornelius Smith was killed.

LSU criminologist Peter Scharf said shootings involving juveniles are the most worrisome.

“There are areas of concern, the one that bothers me the most is the young kids,” Scharf said.

Scharf, who works closely with the NOPD, said this year to date, the department has worked 29 percent fewer murders across the city. He said despite the alarming numbers this weekend, the city is on pace to break 2018′s record number of 146 murders -- the lowest the city has seen in decades.

“Over a year, you’re going to have weeks with no murders and weekends like we had this weekend, and statistically the average is what counts," Scharf said. “You don’t want to pat yourself on the hat and say ‘we did it,’ it’s a work in progress.”

Scharf said it’s not just the responsibility of the police and first responders, he said it’s a combined effort to reduce crime from top to bottom.

For M, she said she still feels safe even despite seeing crime first-hand in her neighborhood, she’ll just continue to keep her wits about her.

“I know for the most part, it’s probably not just a random thing, probably over something or about something in particular,” M said.

According to, Scharf figuring out why all the murders and shootings happened in one weekend and whether or not they’re related will take time to investigate.

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