Employee dead, tourist injured in shooting at popular New Orleans restaurant on opening day of Jazz Fest

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 8:55 PM CDT|Updated: May. 1, 2023 at 11:09 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A man is dead and a woman is injured following a shooting that occurred in front of a popular New Orleans restaurant, police say.

The shooting happened outside of the popular restaurant Mandina’s, a New Orleans staple for 90 years.

Police say a 23-year-old man was outside of the restaurant when he was fatally struck by gunfire. Witnesses say the victim was an employee.

The Orleans Parish Coroner has identified the fatal shooting victim as Hilbert Walker III.

Mandina’s Restaurant reopened Monday (May 1) morning and they issued the following statement on the loss of their employee:

“On behalf of all involved in the operation of Mandina’s Restaurant, we would like to thank everyone for their incredible outpouring of support over the last few days. It’s obvious New Orleans loves Mandina’s and we at Mandina’s love you right back. The loss of our friend and fellow worker Hilbert Walker III, has been devastating to our entire restaurant family. He will be greatly missed. We are praying for the continued recovery of the victim hit by the stray bullet. Our thoughts and prayers are with both families. We would like to publicly thank our security officer who was a hero Friday night. Please allow us to regroup as we set our course going forward and do what we do, serve food. Thank you and God Bless.”

At least one bullet was fired through the front of the store, striking a woman who was dining inside. She was transported to the hospital in stable condition.

Officials say the woman was visiting from Chicago, in town for Jazz Fest, and celebrating a friend’s birthday at Mandina’s.

In a press conference Saturday, NOPD Interim Superintendent Michelle Woodfork said the male victim was the intended target.

“A celebratory day was later marred by another senseless act of violence. My deepest condolences go out to the victims of this terrible crime and their loved ones,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

“The people of New Orleans stand united in their rejection of the gun violence plaguing our nation and our community. We need stronger gun laws and penalties as well as accountability across all public safety agencies if we’re ever going to end this crisis. I have complete confidence in the New Orleans Police Department to apprehend whoever is responsible, and I thank them for their hard work and determination. It will continue to take all of us working together to heal our community and make New Orleans a safer place for all.”

Police say they received reports of a shooting around 8:20 p.m. and confirmed it 10 minutes later.

An armed security guard routinely stationed at the restaurant returned fire, Woodfork said. It is unclear if any of the suspected gunmen were wounded.

No arrest warrants have been issued at this time.

The restaurant was closed on Saturday and owners said they planned to reopen next week.

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