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New Orleans shootings: Mayor says city 'ready for Carnival' after weekend of violence

'We will not allow this ugliness to mar our celebration,' New Orleans mayor says ahead of shootings ahead of Mardi Gras festivities

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 19 February 2019 15:19 GMT
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A weekend of violence in New Orleans has left a city shaken by police shootouts and armed robberies just days before the jubilant annual Carnival celebrations.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell reassured residents the Louisiana city was prepared for the upcoming Mardi Gras festivities, which brings an influx of crowds and party-goers, despite the uptick of violent crimes that plagued the region.

“I want to assure all of our residents and our guests that we are well-coordinated, well-trained and ready for Carnival, and that we will not allow this ugliness to mar our celebration or to endanger our people,” the mayor said.

Authorities say five people waiting at a downtown New Orleans bus stop were wounded by gunfire during a police shootout with an armed robbery suspect.

The shootout happened Sunday night, and officials say the robbery suspect was killed during the exchange of gunfire.

News outlets reported that the New Orleans Police Department said officers confronted a man deemed a person of interest in an armed robbery investigation. Police say the man, whom they haven't identified, pulled out a gun and started shooting.

Of five people wounded at the bus stop, four victims were listed in stable condition at a local hospital, while the fifth victim was in critical condition Sunday night. Authorities haven't released their names.

At least 10 shootings were reported across the New Orleans region over the weekend. Victims included two teenagers sitting on a porch who were both struck by gunfire, a 25-year-old who was shot on Canal Street and one man who was killed in a drive-by shooting, among others.

All together, there were at least seven reported deaths caused by gun violence over the weekend.

“It is important that we acknowledge and understand the work our New Orleans Police Department is doing to keep our people safe,” the mayor said in her statement.

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She added, “Far from being 'the Wild West,' our city sleeps under the protection of an interconnected web of law enforcement agencies whose effectiveness is on display every day.”

Additional reporting by AP

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