Witnesses react to shooting at second line
New Orleans, La - Gunmen open fire during a Mother's Day second line in the 7th ward. 19 people are injured, some suffering gunshot wounds, others, sustaining injuries trying to flee the scene. It happened just before 2:00 Sunday afternoon near the intersection of Frenchmen and North Villere Streets. Now, police search for three suspects, they say are responsible for the crime.
Ed Buckner still can't believe what he witnessed Sunday afternoon. Buckner was leading the Original Big Seven second line parade to celebrate Mother's Day when police say gunmen opened fire on a group of some 300 people parading in the streets. "I fell next to a lady, I fell right next to her and she was shot, her arm was looking so bad," Buckner recalled.
NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said at the scene, "It appears that these two or three people, for reasons un-known to us, started shooting at, in or towards the crowd. It was over in just a couple of seconds, police were everywhere."
Serpas says there were 10 police officers marching along with the crowd. Some were stationed at the front of the second line, some in the middle, some in the back. Yet, despite the police presence, the gunmen still opened fire. Among the wounded, a ten year old girl, who suffered a graze wound to the back and a 10 year old boy who was injured.
Neighbors describe a chaotic scene as people tried to run from the violence. "When I see everybody scared and people falling, I ran inside and I shut my door," said one woman.
Another lady added, "My husband and my daughter were on their way home. My five year old witnessed the people being shot and when she got home, she ran inside the house and she asked me to close the door she did not want the people coming in after her to shoot her."
So many bystanders were among those shot or injured. Ed Buckner says of all days, to have this happen on Mother's Day, is sickening. "For somebody to start shooting and for you to see mothers and children and people from all cross sectors of life, ethnic backgrounds and everything, having fun together and to see them down on the ground, hurt, it's a very sad thing."
Police have a description of one of the suspects...he's described as an African American male, 18-22 years old, with short hair, wearing a white shirt with blue jean shorts.
Crimestoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information in the case.