$10K reward offered in New Orleans shooting
NEW ORLEANS — Police late Monday named a 19-year-old man as a suspect in the shooting of 19 during a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans, saying several people had identified him as the gunman.
Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said they were looking for Akein Scott of New Orleans. He said it was too early to say whether he was the only shooter.
“We would like to remind the community and Akein Scott that the time has come for him to turn himself in,” Serpas said at a news conference outside of police headquarters.
“We know more about you than you think we know,” he said.
Police had announced a $10,000 reward and released blurry surveillance camera images, which led to the tips.
“The people chose to be on the side of the young innocent children shot instead of on the side of a coward who shot into the crowd,” Serpas said.
Angry residents said gun violence — which has flared at two other city celebrations this year — goes hand-in-hand with the city's other deeply rooted problems such as poverty and urban blight. “The old people are scared to walk the streets. The children can't even play outside,” Ronald Lewis, 61, said as he sat on the front stoop of his house, about a half a block from the shooting site.
Witness Jarrat Pytell said he was walking with friends near the parade route when the crowd suddenly began to break up.
“I saw the guy on the corner, his arm extended, firing into the crowd,” said Pytell, a medical student. “He was obviously pointing in a specific direction; he wasn't swinging the gun wildly,” Pytell said.
Pytell tended to a woman with a broken arm and a victim who was bleeding badly.
Three victims remained in critical condition, though their wounds didn't appear to be life-threatening. Most of the wounded had been discharged.
It's not the first time gunfire has shattered a festive mood in the city this year. Five people were wounded in a drive-by shooting in January after a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, and four were wounded in a shooting after an argument in the French Quarter in the days leading up to Mardi Gras. Two teens were arrested in connection with the MLK shootings; three men were arrested and charged in the Mardi Gras shootings.
But the city's 193 homicides in 2012 were seven fewer than the previous year, while the first three months of 2013 represented an even slower pace. of killing.