Minutes before the bullets started flying Tuesday night, Judith Heslop got an upset stomach and went to her bedroom to lie down.
Walking those 20 feet may have saved her life. Soon after she left the front room of her apartment, a barrage of gunfire tore through the 3700 block of Ulloa Street, killing three people and wounding two others. Five bullets crashed through Heslop’s front window.
“Last night was a night when the Almighty God took me up from here to spare me from these terrorists,” said Heslop, 51. “I don’t know what else to say they are.”
The latest mass shooting came less than a month after another fusillade injured five and killed one in Central City.
Tuesday's bloodletting left New Orleans’ homicide total for the year at 131 — exactly where it stood at the same point in 2015.
Several witnesses said a large group of people had gathered Tuesday night in front of a row of white shotgun doubles on Ulloa Street, which intersects with Tulane Avenue at one end of the 3700 block.
Police said the gunfire began about 9:25 p.m. One person died at the scene, according to police, and two more died at a hospital.
Two other victims, both male, were taken to a hospital in a private vehicle and remained there Wednesday, police said.
It was the city's first triple homicide of the year. The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office identified those killed as Darome Hilton, a 34-year-old man; Glenquel Emerson, a 20-year-old woman; and Bobbie Basquine, a 22-year-old man.
Just as in the immediate aftermath of the recent Central City shooting, police said nothing publicly Wednesday about who the shooters were or what their motives might have been.
Detectives have privately concluded that the Central City shooting was an act of gang violence, but police have not commented on whether they believe gangs were involved in the latest burst of violence.
One of the victims died on Heslop’s porch. She sat inside for hours as his blood pooled outside and detectives with flashlights searched the street for shell casings.
Several groups of people gathered anxiously at the scene Tuesday night, waiting for news about whether their loved ones were injured or killed.
At one point a scuffle broke out nearby at Tulane and South Cortez Street. NOPD officers and State Police troopers intervened to break it up.
One resident of the block ended up stuck around the corner in her car, waiting for the all-clear before she could return home to her daughter, who had rushed back into the house when the gunfire began, counting about 13 shots.
“She was hysterical,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.
Heslop said big groups have been spending late nights drinking outside on Ulloa Street for months now, and that she’s complained to her landlord about it. Other neighbors said the same thing.
On June 29, police said, a man got out of an SUV with an AK-47 and shot a 25-year-old man in the 4100 block of Ulloa Street, on the other side of South Carrollton Avenue.
“I’ve lived here for three years, and this is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” Heslop said.
“After this shooting, I don’t know if I want to stay here,” said another neighbor, 66-year-old Catherine Myles. “I want out.”
Last updated 11:30 a.m. Monday
Four of the six people shot in a wild attack on a Central City street corner on Sunday night may have been innocent bystanders, New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said.