Mitch Landrieu: Bunny Friend Park shooting 'domestic terrorism'; 10 of 17 injured under 21 years old

Update, 2:30 p.m.: Ten of the 17 people injured in the Bunny Friend Park shooting Sunday are under 21 years old, and the youngest victim is a 10-year-old child, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said at a news conference Monday.

Landrieu called the shooting “domestic terrorism,” adding that one victim may never walk again.

An NOPD spokesman said two victims remain in critical condition and two guarded at University Medical.

Police Chief Michael Harrison said the shooting appears to be gang-related. The number of suspects is still unclear, he said.

Landrieu pleaded for the public to come forward with any information about the shooting. Crimestoppers’ Darlene Cusanza said she is frustrated that “we’re not getting as many calls as I would like to see.” Crimestoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information on the shooting.

Update, 1:25 p.m.

One of 17 victims of a mass shooting in Bunny Friend Park on Sunday night said she at first stood still near a basketball court when the chaos started. Some in the crowd had taken off running earlier in the night. She thought it might be another false panic.

As two groups of shooters continued to unleash what witnesses said were as many as 50 bullets, however, the 21-year-old woman started fleeing toward Gallier Street on the park's west edge. That was when she felt a sharp pain in her leg, and she knew she had been hit.

A friend loaded her into a car to go to the hospital, and then the pair spotted an ambulance. The scene inside University Medical Center was more chaos, the victim said, as doctors ran "everywhere trying to help everybody."

The victim of the shooting said she was released on Monday, the bullet that wounded her still lodged in her buttocks. She had no idea what sparked the shooting, she said, but she would not be attending any more unsanctioned music events.

"I’m not going to no more DJs," said the woman. "I’m serious."

Police officers were canvassing door-to-door in the Upper 9th Ward and combing through the park for evidence again on Monday, a day after what police said was an unsanctioned music video film shoot turned into the scene of ugly violence. Police have so far identified no suspects and no motives in the shooting, which left 17 victims with what they said were non-life threatening wounds.

Police said on Sunday night that ten of the victims were taken to hospitals by ambulance, said police, and another six were transported in private vehicles. Police had not given an update on the victims' conditions as of early Monday afternoon, other than to add a 17th victim to the tally.

Witnesses said that as the shooters began their barrage, a park full of as many as 700 people became the scene of a "stampede." The hundreds of people caught in the park scrambled over each other and a chain link fence to safety.

"When the bullets started ringing out, nobody could go nowhere," said neighbor James Carter. "They were like sardines jammed in a can."

Bloodied gauze pads, crime scene tape and a child's bicycle could still be spotted in the park hours after the shooting on Sunday. Among the many items littered on the park's ground was a woman's state identification card - a sign of just how quick the scramble to leave had been.

Carter said that around a half hour before the shooting, he had warned people inside his house not to go outside even for a cigarette. He had a bad feeling about the large crowd massing inside Bunny Friend, which he described as a usually tranquil neighborhood park.

New Orleans Police Department Superintendent said that the crowd gathered there after DJs advertised for a music video shoot on social media. Although many in attendance had just left from a permitted second line hosted by the Nine Times Social and Pleasure Club, the two events were separate.

"The second line was far away from here, and it was an event that was peaceful," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a press conference at the park shortly after the shooting.

Rapper James "JRock" Jones said he had just gotten off the mic at the event when the shooting started. He fled for a nearby empty lot and lost his car keys in the process. He returned to the scene on Sunday night and again on Monday morning in a vain effort to find them.

"I'm so mad," said Jones. "I can't even explain it how mad I am."

Original story

Hours after a shooting in the Upper 9th Ward that left 17 people wounded on Sunday, one man was still looking for his keys in the chaotic mess of possessions left on the ground as people fled Bunny Friend Park amid a hail of gunfire between two unidentified groups.

"I'm so mad," said the witness to the shooting. "I can't even explain it how mad I am."

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said that several hundred people were in the park around 6:15 p.m. when the shooting started. The 17 victims suffered either direct gunshot wounds or graze wounds. All those victims were in stable condition, and police planned to release more details on their ages, genders and injuries as soon as possible.

Police originally said that 16 people had been injured, but confirmed Monday that a 17th victim had been identified.

The witness said he had just got off the mic from rapping at the event in the park, which Harrison described as an unpermitted block party and music video shoot, when multiple gunmen began shooting at each other. He heard as many as 50 shots.

"It sounded like New Year's," he said.

Both sides in the conflict took off running just after the shooting, said police. Frightened partygoers began running, screaming and jumping any way they could to get out of the way of the gunfire. The witness said he did not know who the shooters were targeting, only that they "sounded very angry."

"At the end of the day it's really hard to police against a bunch of guys who decide to pull out guns and settle disputes with 300 people in between them," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said at the park shortly after the shooting, in remarks captured on WWL-TV.

Bloodied gauze pads, crime scene tape and a child's bicycle could still be spotted in the park as midnight approached. Among the many items littered on the park's ground was a woman's state identification card - a sign of just how quick the scramble to leave had been.

Ten of the victims were taken to hospitals by ambulance, said police, and another six were transported to hospitals in private vehicles. Detectives canvassed the area for surveillance video that might identify any of the shooters.

A second line for the 9 Times Social Aid and Pleasure Club had just wrapped up in the 9th Ward, but Landrieu said that event was unconnected to the shooting.

"The second line was far away from here, and it was an event that was peaceful," said Landrieu.

Police have asked anyone with information about the shooting to call the Fifth District at (504) 658-6050, or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

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