Jul 092014

Unidentified person of interest (via NOPD)

Unidentified person of interest (via NOPD)

Gerard Gray (via NOPD)

Gerard Gray (via NOPD)

The two men injured Tuesday afternoon in a shooting at a Central City basketball court and a 3-year-old girl shot later that night on South Salcedo Street have all improved to stable, New Orleans police said, as detectives seek the public’s help in bringing both investigations to a swift resolution.

In the shooting at A.L. Davis Park at Washington and LaSalle Street, the victims — ages 38 and 24 — were involved in an argument on the basketball court when shots rang out, said NOPD Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy. Both victims’ conditions are improving, and detectives have been able to speak to both of them directly, Bardy said.

“It seems this stemmed from an argument over whose turn it was to get on the court,” Bardy said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the NOPD Sixth District station.

Now, police are seeking the public’s help locating two “persons of interest” — 24-year-old Gerard Gray, and another man who has yet to be identified — who may have valuable information in bringing the shooter to justice, Bardy said.

CrimeStoppers has increased the reward to $5,000 for information that leads directly to an arrest in the A.L. Davis case, said CrimeStoppers president Darlene Cusanza.

“With the right information, this could happen very quickly,” Cusanza said.

In the case on the Erato Street, Bardy said the 3-year-old girl’s condition has improved to stable after she was initially listed as critical following the shooting. One of the teen victims remains in critical condition, and the other remains stable, Bardy said.

That investigation is progressing quickly as well, Bardy said. The two cases appear to be unrelated.

Bardy described the shooting in A.L. Davis Park as disheartening, as he regularly assigns his officers and investigators to patrol that park and others. They cannot be there at every moment, however, though Bardy said he is looking into ways to create permanent positions patrolling the parks.

“Most important in this district has always been the welfare of the kids, and we do everything behind that,” Bardy said to his officers during their Comstat meeting following Wednesday’s news conference.

While street violence is a national problem, children in Central City are too often the victims of it, Bardy said, rattling off the first names of children slain by stray gunfire in the past four years — Jeremy and Brianna, Keira and Londyn.

“It’s something you never get past, and never get callous to,” Bardy said. “To see that little casket, it’ll tear the soul out of you.”

The community consistently rallies behind the police in these tragedies, Bardy noted — arrests were made in the killings of all four children named above. Cusanza said tips from the public are often the key.

“You really are the solution to this,” Cusanza said. “You are the eyes and ears.”

Contact CrimeStoppers at 822-1111.

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