A man who was being removed from a Bourbon Street bar by a security guard early Sunday struggled with the guard, stole his gun and started shooting, killing a woman and injuring himself and the guard, New Orleans police said.
The shooting happened after 3 a.m. at Willie's Chicken Shack in the 400 block of Bourbon Street.
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The bystander who was fatally shot, a 36-year-old local woman, was pronounced dead at University Medical Center. A spokesman for Willie's Chicken Shack said she was walking down Bourbon and was struck by a bullet as the suspect and the guard struggled over the gun in the threshold of the business.
The suspect, whom police identified Sunday morning as Louis Barnes, 37, was also shot in the shoulder during the struggle over the gun. Barnes was in surgery Sunday and will be booked with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder once he is released from the hospital, police said.
The spokesman said the guard had told Barnes he had to leave because Barnes was trying to sell drugs inside Willie's.
The security guard, whom police have identified as a 23-year-old local man, is in stable condition after being shot in the neck. The spokesman for Willie's described the guard's wounds as critical but said he is expected to recover.
On its website, the local private security company Elite Protection Services lists Willie's Chicken Shack as a client.
Elite Protection Services is registered with the state's private security licensing board. A message to the company's owner wasn't immediately returned.
WWL-TV spoke with a man who described seeing the deadly gunfire erupt. He said the security guard and the man who snatched his gun had fallen over when the bullets started flying.
"Everyone ran ... (when) they heard a pop," the man said.
The man told the station he was in town on a trip with friends and told them to go into their nearby hotel. He went up and grabbed one of the wounded people, and police — who are stationed throughout the French Quarter and surrounding areas for Carnival — arrived on the scene immediately.
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A video being circulated on the social media platform Snapchat showed a man in a dark shirt, jeans, and a neck brace being taken by stretcher into an ambulance on Bourbon while a large crowd on both sides of the street watched. One voice can be heard saying, "This is crazy."
The street was crowded enough at the time of the shooting that police had officers on horseback come and order people back from the scene to create space for officers to process it.
Sunday was the latest of numerous brushes with the law that Barnes has had.
In 1999, he was booked with disturbing the peace and battery of a school teacher at the age of 17. The resolution of those charges was unclear.
In 2002, he was booked with burglary and possession of stolen things. He was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison on those charges.
He had later arrests and convictions for marijuana possession, being a felon in possession of a firearm and bail jumping, the records show. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to the firearm charge and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Sunday's deadly shooting comes during the first major weekend of Carnival. No parades were rolling at the time of the shooting.
Police said they have been aggressive about confiscating illegally carried guns in areas crowded with Carnival revelers.
Ferguson told reporters that NOPD had seized seven guns off Bourbon Street so far this weekend, and both Ferguson and Mayor LaToya Cantrell praised the NOPD's quick response to Sunday morning's events. Ferguson said officers were on the scene "within seconds."
In a briefing early Sunday, Ferguson initially said the suspect shot the security guard and two others. But in a update around 9 a.m., police said the second injured bystander was not struck by gunfire.
The incident was the second shooting in the last week that has injured innocent people in the city.
On the night of Feb. 17, a man exchanged fire with law enforcement officers at a busy bus stop at Tulane Avenue and Elk Place before being fatally shot. Five innocent bystanders were hit.
Editor's note: This story was updated at 9 a.m. with new details from police.
Staff writers Ramon Antonio Vargas and Gordon Russell contributed to this report.