At least nineteen people in New Orleans, including two children, were injured on Sunday when multiple gunmen opened fire on a Mother’s Day parade, police said.
According to police, most victims were grazed by bullets.
Authorities saw three people running away from the scene after the shooting. At least one suspect was described as a man between the ages of 18 and 22.
The victims were marching in what is known as a second line parade, which are common in New Orleans: A brass band plays while marching in the streets, while a “second line” of people follows the band, celebrating.
Police say the parade was just two blocks long.
“These are unusual circumstances. We have second lines which occur in the city of New Orleans virtually every weekend at this time of the year,” said Serpas. “We had a full complement of police officers. It appears that these 2 or 3 people just for a reason unknown to us, started shooting at towards, or in the crowd. It was over in just a couple seconds.”
Detectives are conducting interviews and retrieving surveillance video from around the crime scene. A spokesman for the New Orleans Police Department said he is confident swift arrests will be made.
In front of reporters late Sunday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.
Second lines have been targets for violence in New Orleans in recent years. In the past, shooters have targeted a specific person in the crowd, which authorities say may have been the case Sunday as well. But Landrieu dismissed the notion of outlawing the Louisiana tradition.
“It’s not the second line that did the shooting,” he said. “The cultural events are very important to us, it’s like calling for an end to Mardi Gras because someone takes an opportunity to shoot someone during one of our parades.”
“Second lines have been with us for a long, long time,” Landrieu added. “They are an important part of our culture and our heritage.”