CRIMETRACKER: Victims and predators collide in Bywater neighborhoods
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Bloody and beaten, a crime victim who FOX 8 will not identify, recalls one night that changed her forever.
“I could feel myself bleeding. It was hard to see,” says the victim.
It was 10 p.m. on a Monday night in August when she parked her car just outside of her Burgundy street home in the Bywater.
“I don’t particularly spend a lot of time in my car. It’s just normal to get your stuff out, and I look up and there is a gun in my face,” she said.
She says a masked man with what looked like an assault rifle yelled at her, but she didn’t’ know what he was saying.
“I did notice that there was another car cutting me off, so I couldn’t move forward and I said no, because I was startled, and he just slammed the rifle into my face,” says the victim.
With her eye black and a cut above her brow, she passed out.
“I dove forward, and I kind of spilled out of the car. I think that’s when I came to, and I just started running and I felt another really big hit in the back of my head. At that point, I started screaming and running,” she recalled.
She ran down Burgundy to the corner and says she could feel her attacker running behind her.
“I looked up, and I saw a house with a light on it and a door open. I ran up to it, and I just started banging on it. The woman let me in. I was drenched in blood, and she was like, ‘are you ok?’ I told her I’d just been assaulted,” she said.
The victim says a doctor who lived nearby heard her screams and came outside to help.
“In the end, the doctor said they hit me two times in the back of my head because he had to put staples in two places,” says the victim.
With stitches over her eye and staples in her head, the victim says she’s also scarred emotionally. It’s unclear if the attacker was actually trying to carjack her at the time. Her vehicle wasn’t stolen.
A couple of blocks away at Franklin and St. Claude, neighbors say crime happens daily.
“The police came and blocked off the area right in front of us,” says Stricen Carter.
Earlier this month, NOPD body camera footage shows what happened when a man with an assault rifle got into a shootout with police.
They captured the gunman on Music Street hiding under a house.
A couple of days later, at the corner of St. Claude and Port, a man with a pistol fired four shots at an 18 wheeler turning at that intersection.
Also this month, someone shot a construction worker in the forehead as he was leaving his job at St. Claude and Franklin Avenue, killing him.
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“Whenever you see multiple incidents occur within a certain area, you do have to pay attention to that area,” says NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson.
Ferguson doesn’t believe any of the crimes are related, but he says they’re looking into what’s happening there.
LSU Health Criminologist Peter Scharf says at the corner of St. Claude and Franklin, there’s a mixture of cultures and people who view crime differently.
“That crime is about society. Some of the criminals are actually victims and all the things that one culture believes. Then you have folks on the other side of St. Claude who are living in poverty,” says Scharf.
He says also in that mix, you’ll find people who are afraid to become victims and they want the police to do more. Scharf says the combination of cultures can be dangerous.
“Yeah, you have a fatal combination of targets, who may not fight back, and predators. They collide right where you were. This is a scary time and people are increasingly getting angry,” says Scharf.
Scharf says with so many cultural differences in one area, it’s important to find common ground and that he says will take leadership.
“So, we need the leaders who can cut across that, and bring all the different views, all the different attitudes together in some meaningful way,” says Scharf.
Scharf believes it will take strong organizations that represent all of the demographics in the Bywater neighborhood to develop a common strategy to address the problem.
“I don’t go out as much as I used to because I’m scared,” says the victim.
The assault victim wants the violence to stop, but she too admits, the answer isn’t easy to come by.
“I want them to be found. I want them to stop doing that. I’m afraid that they will kill someone next, but it’s their life too,” says the victim.
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