Two weeks after a mass shooting at Bunny Friend Park, New Orleans police said Sunday they have identified three additional suspects in the incident, bringing the total number of suspected shooters to eight.
Eddie “Eazy” Copelin, 20; Malik “Leaky” Johnson, 17; and Wilfred “Lil Wilfred” Celestine, 19, are the latest suspects in the Nov. 22 incident, which wounded 17 people, the Police Department said.
All three face 17 counts each of attempted first-degree murder.
Johnson was arrested on an unrelated charge Nov. 24 and is already in custody. Detectives located and arrested Copelin on Saturday night, according to NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison.
The identification of the three new suspects came two days after police identified four others believed to have taken part in the shooting.
Of the eight total suspects identified, five are in custody. Quendrick “C4” Bailey, 20; Michael “Mack” Allen, 29; and Celestine are still at large.
“We’re moving fast and aggressive on this investigation. We made a promise to the community that we would not stop until we found and arrested all subjects that were involved in this heinous crime,” Harrison said at a news conference Sunday morning. “And we are going to continue to work, because there may be more.”
Both Harrison and 5th District Cmdr. Chris Goodly said they were not ready to reveal details about the investigation for fear of hampering it. They did say, however, that the suspects were involved with a number of different gangs and that when gunfire was exchanged, “innocent people got hurt.”
“The members that we have identified have gang affiliations,” Harrison said. “Some have gang affiliations from out of that area. Some have gang affiliations that cross over and overlap into other gangs.”
Harrison urged members of the public to turn over any relevant photos or videos that might have captured the scene at Bunny Friend Playground that day, reminding citizens that they can submit tips anonymously.
“The message is clear. We will not tolerate that level of violence,” Harrison said. “We’re going to come after every single person who chooses that lifestyle, chooses to commit that kind of terror on the city.”
On Saturday, police said Larence “L” Veals, 19, and Rashad Walker, 22, had turned themselves in.
Goodly noted that Walker is known as “KMG Ezzy,” a nickname that apparently refers to a 9th Ward street gang.
“There were probably some ongoing inner feuds or intrafeuds going on within a gang,” Goodly said.
Another accused gunman, Joseph “Moe” Allen, 32, surrendered to police last week, though his mother insists he was in Houston at the time of the shooting.
The shooting happened as police were headed to the Gallier Street park to disperse a crowd of hundreds of people who had gathered for an unauthorized music video shoot advertised on social media.
Four minors, including a 10-year-old boy, were among the victims.
Droves of people broke into a stampede when at least two groups of young men began spraying dozens of bullets at each other. Witnesses said the gunmen then quickly fled the park.
With the help of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, police have analyzed many of the bullet casings found at the scene, Harrison said, and “are actively working to connect those to the evidence that may be in our system.”
Police have asked anyone with information about the shooting to call the 5th District at (504) 658-6050 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. Crimestoppers has increased its award for fruitful tips in the case to $10,000.