Mar 062013

Police confer on Milan Street on Monday evening after a woman was shot in the 800 block there. ( file photo by Robert Morris)

Police have not yet determined why an unknown man shot a 36-year-old woman in the neck on Milan Street on Monday evening in an attack neighbors now say may have been “random,” but the victim is recovering and investigators are redoubling their own efforts, authorities said Wednesday.

The victim had been washing clothes at a friend’s house in the 800 block of Milan and was loading her laundary into her vehicle around around 9:30 p.m. when a man walked by, Sgt. Daniel Scanlan recounted at the NOPD Sixth District’s weekly midweek review Wednesday. The man then pivoted back toward her and fired a single shot that struck the woman in the neck, Scanlan said.

Investigators have not yet been able to identify an obvious motive for the shooting, said Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy. Investigators have been told that the man did not say anything before shooting — “but that doesn’t rule out anything,” such as a robbery gone wrong, Bardy said. Likewise, the woman does not appear to have known the man, suggesting that it was not an incidence of domestic violence.

The victim has been released from the hospital, and investigators will be speaking with her as soon as she is able, Bardy said. They have also since returned to the area looking for more witnesses or surveillance video, though they have yet to find any cameras nearby.

“There’s not really much you can say at this point,” Bardy said. “The best thing about it is she’s out of the hospital.”

Several neighbors in the block used the word “random” to describe the shooting Monday night, and as they go back over what happened, that impression prevails. Several recounted hearing the woman scream, hearing the gunshot, and rushing outside to find lying her in the grass.

“What I’ve heard is he didn’t say a word,” said one neighbor who was home the night of the shooting. “He literally just raised the gun and shot her — he didn’t try to take her purse or anything. As far as we know, it ‘s just a random attack.”

The woman said it was chilling to read the next day a similar account of a woman shot in her home in Waggaman by a likewise silent man for no apparent reason — not to suggest that the incidents were connected, she said, but just the thought that people were being shot at their homes for no reason.

“The only motive seemed to be shooting a person,” the woman said.

Police officials did not discuss any link to cases elsewhere at their district meeting on Wednesday.

Neighbors said they are taking a variety of steps to increase their own security in the wake of the shooting. One woman said she is walking her dog earlier in the evenings now, another said she was thinking of buying a gun, and the prospect of a neighborhood watch was also mentioned. But they also lamented having to take such measures in what is ordinarily a peaceful block.

“Generally speaking, this is a street where people spend a lot of time out on their porches,” one neighbor said, but added that the cold weather, tragically, had everyone indoors on Monday night.

  14 Responses to “Police: Motive remains unclear in Milan Street shooting”

  1. Three days and the police aren’t releasing any new information about this? I understand that it takes them some time to interview the victim and witnesses, but the tiny amount of attention this story received from other news outlets is troubling.

    A random shooter is pretty much the most disturbing sort of criminal imaginable. No one in this city is safe until the person is off the streets.

  2. People, as a rule, don’t shoot people just to shoot people, so we’re looking at either a hit man, a serial killer, or…?

  3. Also, has a description of the perp been released yet?

    • Nowhere that I’ve seen, and Uptown Messenger seems to be providing the best coverage.

    • Darrell – The victim is a friend of a friend, all they now right now is he was white and wearing a navy hoodie, the hood was pulled down, so she couldn’t see his face

      • Ariel, thanks. It seems low-info, but this isn’t typical criminal behavior. Also, let’s be careful. Given how close to home this was, the shooter may be someone we know.

  4. could be a gang initiation type of thing, where the perp has to go out and do something really bad before being accepted into the gang.

    • Murdering a stranger as part of a gang initiation is really more the stuff of hysterical e-mail forwards than actual crime. The more frightening idea is that the suspect shot for no discernible reason at all.

      • Alice, I fail to see what difference it makes why a total stranger shot someone.

      • Sorry to say, but it’s not “hysterical” at all; it’s reality. Wanna-be gang bangers do this kind of thing from time to time, jumping strangers for no reason other than to get their “gangsta” stripes. Happens a lot on the West Coast. Let’s HOPE that’s not what we’re dealing with here, otherwise we’ll see more of it.

  5. Gang initiation?

  6. Just a quick note in response to some of the questions raised here. I’m as frustrated by the lack of new information in this case as anyone, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the time to lay that at the fault of police. Commander Bardy and Sgt. Scanlan spoke fairly openly about the state of the investigation at the Comstat meeting I attended yesterday; note that their statements are not “we’re not releasing this” but “we don’t have this yet.” Obviously, they were still waiting for the chance to talk directly to their best witness, the victim.

    But again, I certainly understand how troubling the lack of information feels in an attack like this, and I’ll continue to follow the investigation here at Uptown Messenger.

    • Thank you! I think I speak for most when I say that your diligence here is truly appreciated.

  7. Thanks for your coverage on this. This incident has totally unnerved our neighborhood. We appreciate your work on this!

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