The Thanksgiving weekend ended in a hail of bullets on one of New Orleans’ busiest streets early Sunday morning. Ten people were injured when gunfire erupted on Canal Street.
Two people were critically injured, with one victim shot in the chest and the other suffering a gunshot wound to the torso.
The shots rang out at about 3:20 Sunday morning. Despite the time, there were still many people out on the street and video footage shows a crowd fleeing when the incident began. Police were also nearby and thought they were the targets.
“We had officers right there, within that very block that actually thought they were being fired upon,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said in a press conference shortly after the incident.
“Unfortunately, there were so many people out here we were unable to determine who was actually firing shots at that time.”
An anonymous witness told CNN he was on Canal Street when the shooting occurred. The witness recounted hearing a verbal altercation before the gunfire began. He also said people ran from the location, some tripping and falling on others as they tried to get to safety.
“It wasn’t a pop, pop, pop. It was a pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. And that went on for a series of ten seconds non-stop,” Don Yount of the French Quarter Taskforce told Fox8Live.
Police detained one person who was later released. Police have not made any arrests so far. Ferguson said they are working with federal and state authorities. They are also reviewing security footage from the area and they are asking witnesses to come forward with any additional information.
“What happened in our city overnight was a cowardly and senseless act that we cannot and will not tolerate,” Ferguson said in a statement that also included information about a $5,000 reward for details leading to an arrest.
The incident occurred as tens-of-thousands of people descended upon the city to celebrate the Bayou Classic, the annual football matchup between state rivals Grambling State University and Southern University.
The city’s mayor LaToya Cantrell took to twitter to condemn the violence, including another unrelated shooting in a different part of the city.
“The shootings on Canal Street early this morning were an ugly disruption of an otherwise beautiful holiday weekend … This tragedy will not define us, and it will not deter us from moving our City forward and keeping our people safe.”
Sunday’s shooting is the latest in a series of mass shootings in the city in the last few years. There have been at least five since 2013, including a 2016 Thanksgiving long weekend shooting that left ten people injured on Bourbon Street.
According to New Orleans TV news station WDSU, 20 people were injured on Mother’s Day in 2013. A gang member had opened fire in a crowded parade. It’s believed that only one person was the target. Just over a year later, one person was killed and nine injured in another mass shooting. One person was charged and convicted in connection with that incident.
More than 20 people were also shot and injured in November 2015 after an argument between several men. At the time, police said innocent bystanders became the victims.