FOX 8 Defenders: Man waits hours for police after car was shot multiple times
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A New Orleans man says he narrowly escaped with his life after his car was caught in the crossfire of a shooting.
Smith is calling on authorities to improve response times and for property managers to increase security.
Recounting the experience, Smith said the bullets started whizzing by around 6 p.m.
“I could see them. Zoom, zoom, zoom, bullets like zooming by,” Smith said. “I really was on alert but they were so young, I didn’t realize they were handling real weapons.”
According to Smith, a group of teenagers began firing shots at an individual in the front parking lot of the complex, in front of building four. The Willows management refutes his claim, maintaining the gunshots originated from a nearby convenience store.
“They didn’t care. As a matter of fact, they were laughing as it was happening. That’s how bold and brazen they’ve become,” Smith said.
Smith was trying to pull out of a parking space when he and his car became entangled in gunfire that shattered his tail light and flattened his tire.
“The bullet went completely through the tire,” Smith said. “I just recently purchased this car. This was the factory tire.”
FOX 8 DEFENDERS
After the shooting, Smith managed to drive his damaged vehicle across the street to a service station where he waited three hours for officers to arrive. He eventually decided to return to his Ninth Ward home and waited an additional three hours until an officer finally came to take his report.
“That unit didn’t arrive until 12:30 a.m.,” he said.
The New Orleans Police Department says because there we no injuries and Smith left the scene, the call was classified as a Level I routine call.
Smith insists that his ordeal was far from routine.
“You see the size of the hole in this tire? If any of those bullets would have hit me -- God is good to me -- I would not be here speaking to you today,” Smith said.
After three men were killed in a 24-hour period at the complex last May, management told Fox 8 they were beefing up security. Despite banners touting improved security outside the complex, several residents say they rarely see anyone on patrol.
“The gates are just open. Anyone can just come in. There’s no security and that’s something that they desperately need,” Smith said.
In an emailed statement, property manager Candren Lemieux says an off-duty NOPD officer patrols The Willows for eight hours each day, five days a week. Lemieux also says the gates work properly. Additionally, she says crime cameras have been installed throughout the complex.
Despite these measures, Smith is left to figure out what to do with his damaged vehicle.
“It’s definitely going to hit me financially and it’s going to be expensive to take care of,” he said.
Smith says he worries about his son and other tenants at The Willows, who say hearing gunshots is a common occurrence.
The NOPD’s investigation into the shooting is ongoing, with no suspects or potential motives having been identified.
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