Bystanders comfort a shooting victim while awaiting EMS after authorities say gunfire injured at least a dozen people, including a child, at a Mother’s Day parade in New Orleans. (AP Photo/The Times-Picayune, Lauren McGaughy)
by Chevel Johnson
NEW ORLEANS (AP) —Gunmen opened fire on dozens of people marching in a neighborhood Mother’s Day parade in New Orleans on Sunday, wounding at least 19 people, police said.
The FBI said that the shooting appeared to be “street violence” and wasn’t linked to terrorism.
Many of the victims were grazed and most of the wounds weren’t life-threatening, according to a police news release. No deaths were reported.
The victims included 10 men, seven women, a boy and a girl. The children, both 10 years old, were grazed and in good condition. Police said at least two people were in surgery Sunday night.
Mary Beth Romig, a spokeswoman for the FBI in New Orleans, said federal investigators have no indication that the shooting was an act of terrorism.
“It’s strictly an act of street violence in New Orleans,” she said.
Officers were interspersed with the marchers, which is routine for such events. As many as 400 people joined in the procession that stretched for about 3 blocks, though only half that many were in the immediate vicinity of the shooting, said Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
Police saw three suspects running from the scene in the city’s 7th Ward neighborhood. No arrests had been made as of late afternoon.
Second-line parades are loose processions in which people dance down the street, often following behind a brass band. They can be impromptu or planned and are sometimes described as moving block parties.
A social club called The Original Big 7 organized Sunday’s event. The group was founded in 1996 at the Saint Bernard housing projects, according to its MySpace page.
The neighborhood where the shooting happened was a mix of low-income and middle-class row houses, some boarded up. As of last year, the neighborhood’s population was about 60 percent of its pre-Hurricane Katrina level.
Police vowed to make swift arrests. Serpas said it wasn’t clear if particular people in the second line were targeted, or if the shots were fired in a random fashion.
“We’ll get them. We have good resources in this neighborhood,” Serpas said.
In the late afternoon, the scene was taped off and police had placed bullet casing markers in at least 10 spots.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman and Kevin McGill in New Orleans and AP Radio reporter Jackie Quinn in Washington.
AP Radio reporter Jackie Quinn in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.