Juveniles accused in Gentilly crime spree, including 13- and 11-year-olds, linked to additional crimes
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Four juveniles accused of going on a crime spree in Gentilly on Sunday (April 30) have been linked to additional crimes, according to New Orleans police.
Two of the suspects -- aged 13 and 11 -- were shot in the leg when a man they allegedly attempted to rob on Eastern Street pulled out his own gun and started shooting.
“They approached him and when they approached him, they had some words. The young man tried to rob him, and that’s when he defended himself by shooting back,” says a neighbor who did not want to be identified.
After the failed robbery attempt, the juveniles fled in a getaway vehicle, which ultimately crashed.
“I came outside and looked down the street. I saw an automobile coming down the street. They hit a tree then hit a light pole. Four young men jumped out and ran down the street,” says a neighbor.
Police captured all four of the suspects just a couple of blocks away, but investigators say the crime spree started much earlier on Sunday morning at 12:45 a.m.
The young perpetrators allegedly stole three cars on Paris Avenue, Wisteria Street, and Press Drive. They then committed an attempted robbery in the 2400 block of Jay Street and an armed carjacking in the 6400 block of Painters Street before being confronted on Eastern Street.
“In this neighborhood, we usually don’t have crime or anything, but that’s how the city is going right now. It’s pretty much all over the city,” says a neighbor.
People who live in the Gentilly neighborhood say something must be done.
“We as adults have to protect ourselves from young kids that really don’t have the knowledge to know what they’re doing is wrong. They’re not taught right,” says a neighbor.
The four juveniles are currently in police custody.
Their frustration comes as Louisiana lawmakers debate whether or not to pass a bill that would make juvenile violent crime records more available to the public.
“The names of juveniles who have committed heinous crimes have been kept under the cloak of confidentiality. We protect the name of the young offender without any regard for protecting the community from the wrath of violent crime,” says Rep. Debbie Villio.
Villio’s bill, HB 321, would compile names and other information of violent juvenile offenders in a database that the public could access.
The bill applies to three cities, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport. Some critics question why the bill only applies to three predominately African American communities. Villio says her proposal is about public safety and those cities have some of the highest crime rates in the country.
Victims testified about why they say they want more transparency.
The Bill passed through a House committee and is now headed to the House floor.
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