UPDATE, 3 p.m. Sunday: A suspect has been identified in the shooting of Tulane Medical School student Peter Gold, officials said Sunday.
21-year-old Euric Cain is wanted in connection with the shooting, police said at a press conference Sunday afternoon. Cain's SUV was found Sunday morning in the 2200 block of John Raphael Place, Police Chief Michael Harrison said.
Gold continues to improve, but remains in guarded condition at the hospital.
The woman who was abducted continues to cooperate, police said.
A $12,500 reward is being offered for any information on Cain or the shooting. Cain is wanted for attempted first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and armed robbery.
Fourth-year Tulane Medical School student Peter Gold was driving on Magazine Street at 4 a.m. Friday when he spotted a woman being carried against her will to a nearby car on St. Mary Street.
He backed up and turned against traffic on St. Mary, pulling up to the woman — by now crumpled on the sidewalk — and rushed to her aid, cellphone in hand.
As he crouched at her side, the man who had been carrying her moments before jumped out of a light-colored sport utility vehicle with a semi-automatic weapon and pointed it at Gold’s face.
He pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed.
Lowering the weapon, he shot Gold in the stomach.
Gold fell to the ground, wincing, and the man pointed the gun at his head a second time and pulled the trigger.
The gun jammed again.
Twice more, the assailant tried to shoot Gold in the head. Each time, the gun jammed, and the man glanced furtively over his shoulder, shaking the malfunctioning weapon.
Finally, he gave up, jumped in his vehicle and sped away, leaving the gut-shot good Samaritan and the woman the man had tried to abduct behind him on the sidewalk.
The chilling footage, captured by a private security camera positioned overhead, was turned over Friday morning to the New Orleans Police Department. As of Friday evening, the department said the shooter was still at large, and Gold was in guarded condition, surrounded by family and friends at University Medical Center. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Tulane University is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and indictment of the assailant.
The woman, whom police did not identify, was treated for minor injuries and released.
Unedited raw video footage of the incident viewed by The New Orleans Advocate shows the woman being carried by a man in a hooded sweatshirt. She lifts her feet off the ground in apparent protest as they near the car.
At that point, the man sets her down to open the driver’s side door. He pulls her purse from her hands as she slumps to the ground. Then, he gets in the car.
That’s the moment Gold arrives and goes straight to the woman. The assailant appears to demand money from Gold, who is seen holding up his hands in protest before he is shot.
In an email to students, Tulane President Michael Fitts said he was “shocked and saddened” by news of the shooting.
Gold, 25, originally from Longwood, Florida, did his undergraduate work at Tulane and was active in Tulane Hillel, a Jewish organization on campus.
“I ask that you keep Peter and his family in your thoughts and prayers,” Fitts said in the email. “He is an outstanding student who represents the best of Tulane in every possible way.”
Michele Adams, who taught Gold while he was an undergraduate sociology student, said she was stunned to hear the news but not surprised that Gold would risk his safety to help someone he thought was in danger.
“That is so Peter,” she said. “He was always engaged, involved with his peers and just an amazing person, so it doesn’t surprise me to hear he was trying to help someone. ‘Selfless’ is what comes to mind.”
Adams, an associate professor and chairwoman of Tulane’s department of sociology, said Gold was chosen from about 60 students the year he graduated to receive the department’s Outstanding Student award. She recalled his honors thesis, which analyzed the ways people used social media on their cellphones to connect with one another.
“Peter is really one of the nicest people you would ever meet, and he is an amazing student, I’m sure, even in med school,” she said.
The cold-blooded nature of the attempted execution — and the widely viewed high-resolution video documenting it — sent new shock waves through Uptown neighborhoods shaken by several brazen armed robberies in recent months.
Lt. Nick Gernon told reporters outside the 6th District police station on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Friday evening that Gold could very well have been another fatality if the shooter’s gun had not jammed.
He said that all police have to go on is the vehicle and the video footage, which shows a black male just under 6 feet tall, in his 20s or 30s.
“Right now, we’re asking the public to look at the video,” Gernon said. “There are some parts of it where you can see the person’s face, and you can see the SUV he flees in.”
“Obviously, the level of violence we saw this morning is disturbing, and we would hope that will compel someone to come forward and give us the information we need,” he said. “We don’t solve these cases without the community’s help, and that’s what we’re asking for here.”
Anyone with information about the shooter is asked to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111 or post a tip at crime stoppersgno.org.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.