NOPD investigates a string of shootings involving children, as community seeks solutions

Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A mother has been issued a municipal summons after another two-year-old was shot in New Orleans East Wednesday night. The boy was just the latest victim in a string of shootings involving children, and community concern is growing.

“We somehow dropped the ball in reminding people that were responsible for one another especially children,” said Betty Rhodes a lay minister with Cornerstone United Methodist Church.

The church struggles for answers as another child falls victim to gun violence, after a shooting in the 5900 block of Bullard Wednesday night.

“She was begging for help to stop the boy from bleeding,” said a witness, who did not want to be identified.

Witnesses say a two-year-old boy was shot after being left in a car with caretakers while the mother was getting her nails done.

The boy was rushed to the hospital, where police say he is in stable condition, and expected to recover. Now, the NOPD has issued the mother a municipal summons, for violation of a city firearms ordinance involving juveniles and residents say they’ve had enough.

“Those people owning those guns that are carrying them should keep in mind that they have a responsibility to keep their children safe,” said Rhodes.

The boy on Bullard was the second two-year-old to be shot in less than 24 hours. Another two-year-old was shot at Costco Tuesday night, his brother was arrested for cruelty to a juvenile and possession of a stolen gun, which police say was left in the backseat.

People here at the strip mall say gunfire is practically unheard of, but after what they saw last night they are calling for more to be done to try and curb gun violence.

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Some say with one of the highest murder rates in the nation, gun accidents could go up, as more citizens carry weapons for safety.

“If you’re going to get a gun you should take classes to remind yourself to take safety measures around your children,” said Rhodes.

Cornerstone Methodist is about to begin a series on gun awareness safety, which some believe, should be carried out citywide.

“We have a plan for that coming up and yes, I think something should be done to bring more awareness,” said Rhodes.

Meantime, those involved in trying to help the latest two-year-old to be wounded by gunfire, pray for his recovery.

Police say if you know anything about this latest incident, call the NOPD Child Abuse Unit, at (504) 658-5267.

This has been a violent year for children. Four months ago, 3-year-old Autumn Barthelemy was killed on Burgundy Street after police say her brother left an unattended semi-automatic handgun with a full clip on the back of the toilet. He was wanted for a 2021 homicide at the time. He now faces a number of charges.

Also in June, another two-year-old died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the 8600 block of Apple St. in Hollygrove. No arrests were made in that case, but police say it’s still being investigated.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Superintendent Ferguson issued the following statement addressing gun safety:

“Our method to reducing violence, especially gun violence, is a holistic approach to a complex issue that is grounded in addressing root causes and emphasizing the importance of personal responsibility. While gun violence is a complex issue, there is one known contributor to the problem – guns,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “As adults and members of this community, it is absolutely imperative that if you own a gun, it is stored correctly. Even if you do not personally own a gun, it is also crucial that every member of this community encourage safe gun storage. Storing our guns securely keeps our families and our communities safe because whether or not it is your gun, it could be your child. My administration will continue to support those that choose to take personal responsibility and store their gun safely by meeting people where they are and distributing gun locks throughout the city.”

“When guns are not properly stored, there can be deadly consequences – whether it’s a child finding a firearm and injuring or killing themselves, or someone stealing it and using it to commit violence. Gun owners can make their families, homes and communities safer by storing their guns securely – unloaded, locked and separated from ammunition,” said Superintendent Shaun Ferguson. “As parents, guardians and mentors, we have to educate and protect our children. We can protect them by having conversations about guns and by instructing children to always assume a gun is loaded and never to touch a gun if they see it. Please help us keep our children and community safe by properly storing firearms and normalizing conversations about gun safety – our children and communities are counting on us to keep them safe.”

For more information on gun safety and how to securely store your firearms, visit https://besmartforkids.org/louisiana/.

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