Shots fired during an informal Mother’s Day afternoon parade in New Orleans injured 19 people, two of them children, police said Sunday.
The wounded included 10 men and seven women as well as a boy and a girl, both 10.
Remi Braden, director of public affairs for the New Orleans Police Department, said there were no fatalities and “most of the wounds are not life-threatening.”
The shots were fired at 1:47 p.m. in the area of North Villere and Frenchmen streets during what is locally referred to as “a second-line parade,” Braden said.
Both children were reported in good condition with graze wounds to the body, police said, and two of the adults were in surgery. Police said many of the victims suffered graze wounds, in some cases by ricocheted bullets.
“At this point, there are no fatalities, and most of the wounds are not life threatening,” police spokesman Garry Flot said.
The Times-Picayune newspaper said there were about 200 people at the event when gunfire erupted.
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.
The parade included police officers and was about two blocks long, police said.
“When the end of the parade reached North Villere and Frenchmen … shots were fired from different guns,” Flot said in a statement. “Immediately after the shooting our officers saw three suspects running from the scene.”
Shermaine Tyler, 32, who lives nearby, told The Times-Picayune that a man collapsed onto her after being shot.
“Me and mom were going to the second line. I told her I didn’t want to go because there are always shots at a second line,” Tyler said. “And the second I heard shots, I heard shots fired, we ran outside and one man fell in my lap who had been shot.”
Braden said detectives were interviewing witnesses and seeking surveillance video in the area.
“This is an extremely unusual occurrence, and we’re confident that we will make swift arrests,” Braden said.
Officers were interspersed with the marchers, which is routine for such events. Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said police saw three suspects running from the scene.
A social club called The Original Big 7 organized Sunday’s event. The group was founded in 1996 at a housing project, 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% of its level before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.
“We’ll get them. We have good resources in this neighborhood,” Serpas said.