Looking at the scene of a shooting that left a man wounded in Central City on Tuesday, a bystander predicted that police would be back in the area soon.
He was right. A wheelchair-bound man who had survived several previous brushes with death was killed a few blocks away Wednesday.
Police gave few details about the fatal shooting, which occurred in the 2700 block of St. Andrew Street about 1 p.m.
After it happened, officers kept a large crowd at bay while the victim's body lay slumped on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds, a few feet from his wheelchair.
Lynette Dowell, who was pacing the pavement nearby in a blue nightgown and flip-flops, identified the victim as her son, Kareem Dowell, 25. He was the city's 170th homicide victim of the year, by the New Orleans Police Department’s count.
Lynette Dowell said her son had been a victim of several other recent shootings, including one in which four people were wounded at Magnolia Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the day after Thanksgiving.
"You shot him 20 times the first time and you didn't (expletive) win!" Lynette Dowell shouted. "You gonna be all right, Kareem. I promise you gonna be all right. You gone, you got your reward."
The circumstances leading up to those shootings were not immediately clear Wednesday.
Although he had several felony convictions, acquaintances on the scene described Dowell as a caring father to his two sons, both less than 8 years old. Sadie Breaux, a friend of his mother, said Dowell had bought Christmas presents for the boys just two days before he was killed.
Police did not identify any suspects or suggest a possible motive for the killing. Several people standing beyond the crime scene tape near the scene raised angry claims, however, saying that a police officer had been just yards away from the shooting as it occurred and did nothing.
Dawne Massey, a Police Department spokeswoman, confirmed that a patrol officer had just finished conducting a traffic stop in the area. But, she said she could not say how close that officer was at the time of the shooting.
“All we have right now is that they were in the area on patrol, and they drove up and they saw the man in the street, so they went over to him to render aid,” Massey said. “(They) called EMS, but he was pronounced (dead) on the scene.”
One woman nearby gave a different account.
The officer "really was right here in this truck, and that man was getting shot up over here," said Kawonda Williams, 23, who claimed to have witnessed the incident. "He never got out of the truck, period."
Williams heard six or seven shots but did not see the perpetrator or perpetrators, she said.
Police asked anyone with information about the killing to call the NOPD Homicide Division at (504) 658-5300.