The victim of a deadly shooting Saturday in Mid-City was indicted three years ago but never tried for the slaying of a man who has since been accused of being a killer and a member of the bloody “6th Ward Wild Side” gang, court records show.
A New Orleans Police Department spokesman said Tuesday that the fatal shooting of Keith Hunter, 44, in the 2600 block of Ursulines Street about 6:35 p.m. Saturday remains under investigation. Police have not identified any suspects.
Police said Hunter was shot multiple times and died at the hospital. A police spokesman declined to say whether a gang motive is suspected.
Hunter was arrested in May 2012 and a state grand jury indicted him four months later on a charge of second-degree murder in the killing of Calvin Carter Sr.
Carter, 21, was sitting on a porch with his baby daughter on May 20, 2012, when someone walked up and shot him in the face a few blocks from the crowds at the Bayou Boogaloo Festival at Bayou St. John, according to news accounts.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office dropped the murder charge against Hunter last year, however, prompting his release. Christopher Bowman, a spokesman for Cannizzaro’s office, said the office was left with no choice but to dismiss the case after a witness who had identified Hunter in Carter’s slaying recanted her statement.
Carter “was shot in front of five people. Initially, there was only one witness who was willing to testify. However, in the course of prosecuting the case, that witness became uncooperative and recanted her identification of Hunter as the perpetrator,” Bowman said.
“A little more than a year after the case was dismissed, the defendant is dead. This goes to show you the stakes you’re dealing with and why every case is important and why we pursue these cases as hard as we can.”
Police labeled Hunter as a “career criminal” upon his arrest in Carter’s slaying. He had been staying at a federal halfway house on narcotics violations at the time of the killing, police said.
No motive was identified in Carter’s killing. Hunter’s attorney in that case, Adam Beckman, said prosecutors never revealed any gang theories prior to dropping the murder charge in September 2014.
“I was never presented with any evidence that indicated they were going to call any witnesses or go down that road in any way as far as gang affiliation was concerned about Keith,” Beckman said.
Meanwhile, Carter’s gang exploits are detailed in a state racketeering indictment lodged against a half-dozen alleged members of the 6th Ward group, which also went by the name “Wild Side Gangstas,” authorities say. Members of the group have been known to tattoo the number “6” on their foreheads, according to a police account.
The 15-count state indictment accuses those six men and Carter, before his death, of six murders in 2011 and 2012 in support of a heroin and cocaine peddling operation.
Carter is identified in the indictment only as “C.C.”
The indictment says members of the 6th Ward gang had a bloody running feud with another group, the “4th Ward Goonies,” based at the former Iberville housing project. That group also went by the name “Goonie Boys.”
The indictment accuses Carter and Damion “Small Face” Abram, now 24, of murdering Alfred “Nuck Jr.” Dixon, an alleged Goonie Boy, on Nov. 7, 2011.
Believing that two other men, Darryl Long and Derrick Howard, planned to take on a contract to kill them for Dixon’s murder, Carter and Abram killed Long, 26, and Howard, 25, execution-style on Jan. 26, 2012, in the 2600 block of D’Abadie Street, the indictment states.
Prosecutors claim members of the 6th Ward group had close criminal ties to accused members of two other street groups that authorities have targeted with sweeping state or federal gang indictments: the St. Thomas-area “110’ers” and the “3NG” gang, named for their territory around Third and Galvez streets.
Police said Carter’s 2012 killing remains an open case.
Hunter’s long criminal history in Orleans Parish included a pending charge of armed robbery with a firearm, with drug and weapons arrests and convictions dating back to 1989, court records show.
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