An early morning shooting Tuesday in New Orleans East left a mother and daughter dead and another woman wounded.
Shortly before 1 a.m., officers found a 25-year-old woman inside her home in the 14500 block of Duane Road suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the body. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her 8-year-old daughter also was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head. She died later Tuesday morning at a hospital, Police Department spokesman Tyler Gamble said.
The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office identified the dead woman as Walesha Williams and her daughter as Paris Williams.
Walesha Williams’ aunt, Mercedes Brown, told WWL-TV that the daughter was in bed sleeping when the gunman came into her room and shot her.
Brown also told the station that the shooter took Walesha Williams’ money and cellphone before fleeing.
Another woman, 39, who was in the home at the time suffered multiple gunshot wounds, but police said her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. She is believed to be a friend of Williams.
WWL-TV reported that the second woman “played dead,” then ran out of the house to get help before collapsing at a neighbor’s home.
Detectives were canvassing the area Tuesday morning, going door-to-door and interviewing neighbors. A detective inspected the silver Lexus SUV that was sitting in the driveway of the home. The car had Texas license plates.
The victim and her daughter had recently moved back from Texas, according to WWL-TV.
One woman, who declined to give her name, said she was too afraid to discuss the shooting, suggesting she knew the shooter, who remains at large. “He’s still out there,” she said.
WWL-TV also reported that neighbors and family members suspected the shooter was Walesha Williams’ boyfriend. Police would not confirm or deny that theory, saying the investigation is ongoing.
“An 8-year-old girl was killed this morning,” said Sgt. Nicholas Gernon, commander of the NOPD’s Homicide Division. “This hits us hard. That should hit everybody hard, and we ask anyone with information to come forward.”
Homicide detective Tindell Murdock is leading the investigation and can be contacted at (504) 658-5300.