Four Uptown shooting victims were working with youth organization

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:31 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - People who live in a normally quiet Uptown neighborhood are still shaken over the brazen shooting that unfolded in broad daylight Wednesday afternoon.

“The whole incident really affects me from having it so close to the house and seeing what happens when there’s gun violence,” says a neighbor who does not want to be identified.

Witnesses tell FOX 8, several gunmen in a silver pickup truck opened fire, striking four men working outside the church on the corner of Annunciation and General Taylor.

More: Two dead in quadruple shooting in Uptown

“These young men had been with me for two or three years doing the good work, learning and progressing,” says Toddy Reynolds.

Todd Reynolds is the Executive Director of Groundwork New Orleans, a young organization that offers environmental training and employment to young people.

At the time of the shooting, the four men between the ages of 19 and 25 were doing a green project at the church.

“This is a life alternating event. I’m pretty sturdy. It’s tough. I’m angry and grieving,” says Reynolds.

Just after the shooting, neighbors rushed over to help.

“The gentleman that I was trying to help had some blood that was obvious, so I tried to put a towel over it and stop the blood until an ambulance could come,” says a neighbor.

Zernell Lee, 19, and Derrick Copelin, 25 died from multiple gunshot wounds.

“A supervisor who was killed, he had two young children, and unfortunately he was really stepping up and doing the dad work,” says Reynolds.

CRIMETRACKER: 2 dead, 5 injured in violent New Orleans night

Police are still investigating the case, and they haven’t yet released a motive for the shooting.

“It’s really sad to see in our neighborhood and all the neighborhoods in New Orleans,” says a neighbor.

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