One man was killed and another was wounded in a shooting Tuesday evening on a short, busy stretch of Felicity Street next to the parking lots around the Walmart shopping center off Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans police said.
Shortly after a report of shots fired at 7 p.m., a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy who happened to be in the area drove into the 400 block of Felicity Street (between Religious and Tchoupitoulas) to find a car unoccupied and stopped in traffic, and a man lying on the sidewalk nearby with a gunshot wound to the side, said Officer Garry Flot, a NOPD spokesman. The injured man died at the scene, but two other occupants of the car were located on the scene and taken into custody for questioning, Flot said.
Soon afterward, another man showed up at Touro Infirmary seeking treatment for a gunshot wound to the hand, and police found a car believed to have been involved in the Felicity Street shooting parked at the corner of the Touro campus at Delachaise and Coliseum, Flot said. That vehicle — a gray Toyota Corolla with a Georgia license plate — turned out to be stolen, and detectives are now questioning the man who was shot in the hand as well, Flot said.
On Felicity Street, dozens of numbered markers highlighted shell casings and other evidence just behind the gold car abandoned there, and a gun lay in the street until police collected it for evidence. The stolen Toyota parked at Touro — its emergency flashers still blinking hours after the shooting — showed damage near the headlight and the front passenger window was broken out.
Investigators have yet to determine how many of the people involved were shooting at the Felicity Street scene, or whether gunfire was coming from one or both vehicles, Flot said.
Large crowds gathered near Felicity and Religious streets, and wailing broke out occasionally as more loved ones of the slain man arrived. A man who identified himself as the victim’s uncle said the man killed was not from the neighborhood, but from the Dumaine Street area in the Sixth Ward. He and other family members declined to talk about the victim further.
Members of the River Garden community had been holding a neighborhood meeting in one of the storefronts just across the parking lot from the shooting scene when the gunfire erupted. One resident, Brandt Lewis, said that when the shots rang out, he saw a man in the parking lot froze in fear so suddenly that Lewis thought he had been shot also.
“All I saw was people running, and my heart was in my throat,” said resident Dana Curington.
Violence has greatly subsided in the River Garden area in recent years, and the residents agreed that they could not ever remember gunfire taking place on the commercial side of the development.
“My heart goes out to that child’s mother,” said longtime community activist Barbara Jackson. “Whatever it’s about, it is just so sad. It should have been resolved better than that.”
Nick Vessell, who lives about two blocks away, happened upon the scene as he walked to Walmart. The New Orleans Police Special Operations Division is headquartered almost in the block, and Vessel noted the brazen nature of a shooting right outside their offices. On the other hand, he said, the circumstances of a shooting on the busy street had the markings of a chance encounter.
“Whoever it was, they caught him in traffic,” Vessell said. “You can’t really attribute this to the area. Nobody’s really doing anything here other than driving.”
Homicide detective Andrew Waldron is leading the investigation. Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 822-1111.
[Note: This article was first published at 7:39 p.m. and updated subsequently as additional information became available.]