An annual Mother’s Day second line in the Seventh Ward that normally draws hundreds came to a tragic end Sunday when gunmen fired into the crowd, striking 19 people, including two children.
The shots rang out as the celebration was winding to an end at N. Villere and Frenchmen Streets, around 1:45 p.m.
Neighbors expressed both shock and outrage.
“Everybody was having fun for Mother’s Day, and next thing you know when they got right there to the stop sign, pow pow, everybody went to running,” said Lisa Garner, who lives nearby.
Just down the street, two victims collapsed on Bernadette Tyler’s porch. One was shot six times.
“I just opened my door today and two guys collapsed right there on my steps and me and my daughter did the best thing we can to revive them and I think we saved another life today,” said Tyler.
Tyler knows first hand what it’s like to lose someone to violence. Her son was murdered 15 years ago. This Mother’s Day, she worked to save someone else’s son.
“They just was saying they was hit and they was hurting, I just kept saying, ‘We’re going to keep you, we’re going to revive you from all of this,’” she said .
No one was killed, but three victims were in critical condition. The children involved were recovering from graze wounds.
“It’s just time to stop with the violence. It’s not cool. It’s Mother’s Day. Who wants to lose a child on Mother’s Day? That’s’ not right,” said Adriana Stewart, who attended the second line with her two children.
The shots rang out even as more than 10 officers were present during the second line. Some of the officers saw three suspects running from the scene. All three are still at large.
“What frustrates all of us is that the great culture of our city sometimes stumbles a bit because of the selfish behavior of some people. So we can tell you without doubt that this police department will find these guys,” said New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas.
It’s the area’s second shooting in a week. Police are still investigating a motive. They believe at least two guns were involved.
Police are still gathering information on the suspects. One of them is described as a black male in his late teens or early 20s with short hair, a white shirt, and blue jean shorts.