By Stacey Plaisance
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS — Gunshots erupted in a crowd of bead-wearing, drink-carrying late-night revelers on Bourbon Street during the countdown to Mardi Gras, wounding four people and sending bystanders running and screaming. Hours later on Sunday, though, the same stretch was packed with partiers who said they weren’t letting the violence dampen their fun.
In a video taken by a witness Saturday night and released the next day, the shootings are preceded by footage of people standing shoulder to shoulder in New Orleans’ famed tourist district, with some holding green plastic cups and wearing gaudy hats or masks. A section of the frame highlighted by police shows people jostling and speaking with angry expressions.
Police said in an email that the video depicts an argument involving one of the shooting victims and the suspects. Two men are seen leaving the argument and returning with a third, then approaching the victim as at least one of the suspects begins shooting, according to police. Four shots are heard in rapid succession, followed by screams as some in the crowd stagger into one another and a nearby wall. A man whom police identified as one of the suspects is shown walking through the crowd with his arm extended as the gunshots are heard, though it’s difficult to make out a weapon.
Police said Sunday that they were seeking the three men and that they’ve identified one suspect but won’t release the name.
The shootings wounded two men and two women, three of whom were treated and released Sunday. One man hit in the abdomen, thigh and pelvis was in stable condition Sunday after surgery the previous night, New Orleans Police spokesman Hilal Williams said.
The shooting came on the last weekend of partying before Mardi Gras, the Fat Tuesday celebration that is the signature tourist event of the year in New Orleans.
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