Five violent crimes on or near Canal Street despite increased police presence _lowres

Charles Garner

New Orleans police are investigating five violent crimes committed on or near Canal Street within about nine hours Saturday night and Sunday morning.

The shootings, robberies and assaults happened despite increased police patrols in the Central Business District and French Quarter over the weekend because of the Bayou Classic festivities.

The violence started shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday, when police heard gunshots and witnesses said they saw one youth shoot another at the intersection of Canal Street and Convention Center Boulevard.

Officers chased 17-year-old Charles Garner into the 400 block of Canal Street, where he was arrested. Witnesses said he had fired several shots at another 17-year-old with a semi-automatic pistol before fleeing, said Officer Hilal Williams, a Police Department spokeswoman.

The victim suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released.

The gun found in Garner’s possession had been stolen in Orleans Parish, Williams said.

Garner was booked on aggravated battery by shooting and two weapons counts.

Officers initially apprehended two suspects, Garner and a 16-year-old, on Canal Street, but detectives determined the 16-year-old wasn’t involved in the shooting. However, he was found to be in possession of a gun and was booked for illegal carrying of a weapon.

The second incident happened shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday, when police said four armed men robbed seven victims at gunpoint at Canal and North Derbigny streets.

The victims — four men and three women, all between 18 and 20 — were approached by the robbers, who demanded their property and money. The four armed men fled the scene after everyone in the group complied.

A little after 5 a.m., a 26-year-old man was stabbed at the corner of Canal and Chartres streets. Police said Sunday they were unable to interview the victim because he was in surgery, but they categorized the crime as an aggravated battery.

Finally, New Orleans police are seeking men wanted for two separate armed robberies that happened Sunday morning in the French Quarter, near Canal Street.

The first suspect is wanted for robbing a 21-year-old man in the 800 block of Conti Street, three blocks from Canal, shortly before 5 a.m.

Police said the victim was walking when a man armed with a gun approached him from behind, demanding his property. After the victim complied, the robber fled toward North Rampart Street with the man’s Air Jordan shoes, gold chains, phone and cash.

Police described the robber as a 5-foot-3 black man with a thin build, short hair and a slight mustache. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.

About an hour later, police said a 33-year-old man was walking in the 100 block of Chartres Street, just off Canal Street, when another man approached him from behind, grabbed him and pushed him into a wall. The robber, who had a gun, demanded the victim’s property.

The 33-year-old victim threw his wallet and iPhone 4s to the ground, and the robber took them and shoved him before fleeing.

The robber in this case was described as a black man, 5-foot-11, 150 to 160 pounds, with a mustache. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black jeans and black tennis shoes.

Anyone with information about any of the crimes can call Crimestoppers anonymously at (504) 822-1111.