A ballistics report drafted by the New Orleans Police Department proves that Trung Le did not fire the bullet that killed Brittany Thomas in the June 29 Bourbon Street mass shooting, according to Le’s attorney, Martin Regan.
The report, provided to Regan on Wednesday by Assistant District Attorney Laura Rodrigue, contains four pages of scientific analysis of the shell casings and bullet fragments collected by police from the scene of shooting.
Its most significant finding may be that the bullet that killed Thomas was “consistent with .40-caliber class ammunition” and not the 9 mm gun that Regan said Le fired in the shootout.
The report does not reference Le by name, but Regan said that after reviewing the surveillance video and creating a diagram of the shooting, he’s positive Le fired the 9mm.
“My client was even running the same direction as the woman who was shot,” Regan said Wednesday, referring to Thomas. “The bullet was coming from his back.”
Regan’s version of events appears to be supported by an annotated surveillance video turned over to him by prosecutors last week. In it, a man in a red shirt is seen firing a gun and then dashing down Bourbon Street in an apparent attempt to evade a spray of bullets from another gunman.
The man in the red shirt, who resembles Le, appears already to be fleeing when Thomas is cut down by gunfire.
According to the ballistics report, 13 shell casings and two bullet fragments were collected from the scene of the early morning shootout in the 700 block of Bourbon Street.
In all, police collected four fired 9mm cartridges and nine fired .40-caliber Smith and Wesson cartridges.
All of the 9mm cartridges were fired by the same weapon, according to the report. The same is true for the .40-caliber cartridges.
Another revelation in the report is that the 9mm weapon, which Regan said was Le’s gun, was used in a murder that occurred Dec. 31, 2012, in Algiers.
According to media reports at the time, 24-year-old Eric Hatley was found shot to death in a white Chevrolet Camaro in the 2000 block of Cypress Acres Drive. The killing apparently remains unsolved.
Regan said Le was in jail in Jefferson Parish at the time of that slaying, and court records appear to back up that position.
Le was arrested on Dec. 21, 2012, after he stole a watch from a Sears store in Gretna. At the time, he was wanted for failing to appear at a court hearing on charges of marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia and traffic violations. He had been arrested on those charges in 2011.
According to court records, Le spent almost a month in jail after his arrest, not making bond until Jan. 16.
Regan declined Wednesday to say where Le had obtained the 9mm gun.
Le has pleaded not guilty to one count of manslaughter and one count of attempted murder in the June 29 shootout in which Thomas was killed and nine others were wounded.
Police have yet to arrest or identify the second shooter, who is referred to in court records only as an “unknown African-American male.” Witnesses who were friends of Le’s have described the man as highly intoxicated and as wearing a pair of pants similar to those often worn by kitchen workers.