After the body of a 17-year-old Landry-Walker High School student was taken away by paramedics early Monday, bloody clothing and a black Nike backpack remained in the middle of an apartment complex parking lot in the 3700 block of Garden Oaks Drive in Algiers.
The student, who remains unidentified, was apparently shot about 7:30 a.m., when residents reported hearing four loud gunshots. Police said he died at the hospital shortly thereafter.
Virginia Evans, 28, was walking home from her overnight shift at a nearby Waffle House when she heard the popping sounds. Her first thought was for the safety of her three children, who were inside a house just feet from where the teenager was gunned down.
“My babies were right inside there,” Evans said. “I’m moving away from these projects ASAP.”
Behind the caution tape, a woman with a son at Landry-Walker paced, nervously talking on her phone. She refused to give her name but said that news of the shooting was a parent’s worst nightmare.
“All the parents are trying to figure out who didn’t get on the bus this morning,” the woman said.
When administrators finally told her that her son was in class, she threw her hands in the air and said, “Thank God, my baby is all right.” She then hurried away from the crime scene.
An NOPD spokesman, Officer Garry Flot, wouldn’t confirm whether the teenager went to Landry-Walker, but people at the scene said he did.
Brandon Armant, a spokesman for Landry-Walker, said the school has experienced student fatalities before and that social workers were on-site to support the student body of about 1,300.
“Anytime there’s a loss of life, it’s a tragedy,” Armant said.
Neighbors said the sound of gunfire is commonplace. A 39-year-old man who would identify himself only as Gary said he lives in the Forest Park apartment complex where the shooting took place. He said the violence keeps his friends and family from coming around.
“I can’t get my family to come down here for a barbecue or to watch a football game,” he said.
He has lived in the neighborhood since 1993 and said he hopes to shield his 5-year-old son from scenes like the one that happened right outside his door.
Homicide Detective Ryan Aucoin is in charge of the investigation and can be contacted at (504) 658-5300.
Follow Benjamin Oreskes on Twitter, @boreskes.