Three people were killed and seven others were wounded in a shooting Saturday night on a troubled block of South Claiborne Avenue, the New Orleans Police Department said.
The target of a shooting rampage Saturday night that left three people dead and seven others injured outside a strip mall on South Claiborne A…
NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said two people wearing hooded sweatshirts approached a large crowd outside a commercial strip mall in the 3400 block of South Claiborne about 8:30 p.m. and started spraying gunfire toward people there.
One of the shooters wielded a long gun and the other had a pistol, killing two men and one woman at the scene, Harrison said. The shooters took time to stand over one victim in particular before fleeing northbound toward Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Of the wounded, one was in critical condition and undergoing surgery on Saturday night, Harrison said. The other six don't appear to have life-threatening injuries.
None of the victims' names were released, and no suspects have been publicly identified.
Harrison pleaded with members of the public to provide investigators with any tips that may lead them to the shooters. He urged anyone affected by Saturday night's carnage to not "take matters into their own hands," saying his officers would work relentlessly to catch those responsible.
"If violence is going to be the life you choose, then prison is going to be the price you pay," said Harrison, noting there were multiple crime cameras in the area of the bloodshed.
Louisiana State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Housing Authority of New Orleans were among the agencies assisting NOPD at the scene.
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Three of the injured victims were taken by ambulance to University Medical Center, while the four remaining arrived by private rides, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services spokesman Jonathan Fourcade said.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a statement declaring, "There is no place in New Orleans for this kind of violence.
"I speak for everyone in our city when I say we are disgusted, we are infuriated, and we have had more than enough. Three more lives — gone. It has to end."
Saturday night's scene was chaotic. A woman stood behind some crime tape on South Claiborne shouting, "Pick my brother up," as two bodies lay uncovered. A third body could be seen in the nearby 2800 block of Louisiana Avenue.
Another woman told an Advocate reporter her grandson was among the three dead. Authorities blocked off the eastbound side of South Claiborne for much of the night.
A law enforcement source told The Advocate that officials are exploring the possibility that Saturday's shooting was related to street gang activity. Harrison stopped short of giving the same opinion when asked Saturday night.
The violence happened in the vicinity of Jazz Daiquiris & Lounge, which has been the site of gang killings in the past.
The corner daiquiri store was the scene of one of the most storied and brazen murders in New Orleans in recent memory, a killing for which notorious Central City gangster Telly Hankton was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Hankton's cousin, Andre Hankton, was accused of ramming Darnell "Durney" Stewart after Stewart fled his vehicle following a high-speed chase down South Claiborne in May 2008.
Stewart went flying an estimated 20 feet into the air in front of the daiquiri shop. When he landed, prosecutors alleged, Telly Hankton strode up and fired repeatedly into Stewart's face before running down Louisiana Avenue toward the river.
The daiquiri shop's owner at the time, John Matthews, witnessed the killing from the doorway and went on to testify against Hankton, but not before being shot at least 17 times in what prosecutors portrayed as a failed hit to thwart his testimony.
Matthews' brother, Curtis Matthews, was then gunned down near the same spot days after Hankton received his life sentence, in another hit attributed to Walter "Urkel" Porter, allegedly on Hankton's behalf.
John Matthews said he was forced to sell the daiquiri shop and go into hiding prior to his testimony.
In 2014, on that same block, two women who were cousins of Telly Hankton were accused of shocking a third woman with a stun gun as well as driving into her with a car.
Ten total people were shot, including three fatally, on South Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans on Saturday in another instance of gun violence …
Also on Saturday night, New Orleans police said they were investigating a shooting near westbound Interstate 10's exit to Metairie Road and City Park Avenue. A caller to 911 reported seeing what appeared to be a rolling gun battle between people in two cars.
Police later found the victim in Metairie, near the intersection of Veterans Memorial and North Causeway boulevards.
Police said the victim, a woman, was taken to a local hospital for treatment of three gunshot wounds to the back. It was not clear if she was the intended target — she told investigators she was waiting at a red light at the exit when she heard gunshots, felt pain in her back and realized she'd been wounded.
While officials didn't elaborate on her condition, a transmission over police radio that was picked up by scanners said it appeared she would be "fine."
Harrison said he didn't believe the shooting reported on I-10 was related to the violence on South Claiborne, but he added that the investigation was only in its early phases.
Crimestoppers is offering a reward of $5,000 for any information leading to an indictment in Saturday night's shooting on South Claiborne. Tipsters can call 504-822-1111 and do not have to testify to be eligible for the reward.
Staff writers Kyle Whitfield and Orlando Flores contributed to this report.