Friday, January 13, 2012

New Orleans New Year Starts With Lots of Gun Activity

Suspects Cuffed With Hands on Car

The new year in New Orleans has gotten off to a crime-ridden start: 27 people shot as of January 12, two dead. I spent New Year's Eve riding along with officer David Desalvo who got his first illegally used firearm off the streets along with the man who chose to shoot it into the air 30 minutes into January 1. Here is a link to my story shot during a number of ride-alongs between Christmas and New Year's Eve.   and another from a gun buy back program in Jefferson Parish held on January 7. 

I started paying more attention to cops and bad guys after my best friend was held up at gun point while shopping for an onion for our dinner. I told him we could do without the onion, but he said, "i like going to my corner bodega." He doesn't like it anymore. Two thieves, one carrying a gun, held him up the Monday night before Christmas in the well lit parking lot of market a couple blocks away from where he lives. People were around, but lately gunmen in New Olreans don't seem much troubled by witnesses. My friend gave up his money, but when the gunman wanted his car too, he fought back. While the gunman counted the money, my friend hit him in the head and ran into the store, asking them to call 911. The thieves ran. My friend chased them in his car, calling a 911 dispatcher and telling them which way the thieves were running. WIthin minutes, the gunman was caught though his accomplice got away. My friend was able to ID him and get his own ID back. His money? Well maybe one day, but more important, the gun was recovered and the perp is now sitting in jail with a high bond. Over an hour later my friend was back. He didn't have the onion, but he did have a story one doesn't hear much in New Orleans: a story about police doing a great job. Ten officers were on the scene in minutes. That is what inspired me to do a series of ride-alongs.

My friend is the last person I'd exoect to be a victim, He's pretty tough. His sudden vulnerability shook me up. After a few ride-alongs I see New Orleans differently. Crime is not making me think of moving on or staying in, but I do lock my car doors while driving and I don't shop in the 5th district at night . Filling up my gas tank has become a daytime activity.

 click here to see me on Fox 8 talking with Rob Masson and Liz Reyes about my photos from the gun buy back program and ride alongs.
A Lorcin .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol, turned in for $50
These days don't be surprised if you here gun shots on the streets.
Perp who lost his shoe while running from officer DaSalvo 
A drunk man is subdued after a domestic violence incident on New Year's Eve.

Johnny Ngai  and Benny Griffen with guns turned in at the Gun Buy Back Program