Six women wailed in a St. Roch street Thursday morning as officials from the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office collected the body of a young man that was lying facedown behind some dumpsters and loaded it into a white van.
The 17-year-old victim, Kimonte Washington, wearing a multi-colored striped polo shirt and loose pants, was shot around 9:15 a.m in the 1900 block of Port Street, according to New Orleans police spokesman Juan Barnes. But the women saw this shooting coming.
“I told him last night, he was going to get killed,” screamed one young woman in a camouflage green bucket hat.
As the body was collected, a woman in a Clippers tank top broke the police caution tape and rushed the crime scene. A scrum of cops and friends held her back before she began banging her hands and head on the hood of an unmarked white squad car.
“The is the last picture we going to take with my baby,” she screamed through sobs, while holding her phone up.
Andrea Ratcliff, one of the grieving women, stroked the other woman’s hair, and draped her arms around her shoulders. The screams continued.
The woman in the Clippers shirt wouldn’t give her name or speak to The New Orleans Advocate, but another bystander said Washington was the father of her child.
Ratcliff said she knew the deceased. He used to stay in the Seventh Ward, where she lives with her toddler, she said.
“It’s just too many kids dying — my friends dying,” she said. “He was a sweet boy, just a real good boy.”
A few minutes earlier, a woman others identified as the victim’s sister, paced and surveyed the scene, crying into her phone.
“This is going to be the last time I see him,” she said.
Residents said they heard multiple gunshots, and police received the call at around 9:20 a.m. They found the youth about halfway down the 1900 block of Port, between North Prieur and North Johnson streets.
Police marked off the locations of at least 13 bullet casings with numbered orange cones. Barnes said the shooting came from closer to North Johnson, and the placement of the cones seemed to indicate this as well.
Two residents said Washington had come from a convenience store at Almonaster Avenue and North Prieur Street. A black plastic bag and orange drink lay next to his body,
Preston Sanders, 72, who lives around the corner from where the incident occurred, said the block was a relatively quiet one, but friends disagreed, saying that there had been a shooting or two in the last couple of years.
Sanders, who is retired, wished observers a happy Mardi Gras and joked with his neighbors. When their meandering conversation turned to the events of the morning, he shook his head.
“It’s everyday, man,” Sanders said. “Some life is being taken.”
Homicide Detective Wayne Delarge is in charge of the investigation and can be reached at 504-658-5300.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Feb. 12; an earlier version gave an incorrect first name for the victim.