(map via NOPD)
A stray bullet that hit a woman stepping off the St. Charles Avenue streetcar last weekend was fired during a gun battle between two groups on a side street where New Orleans’ tourist community and street violence often clash, police said this week.
The woman, who was visiting New Orleans from out-of-town with a group of people, had stepped off the St. Charles Avenue streetcar near Erato Street around 11:50 p.m. Saturday (June 21) when she was hit in the hip by a bullet, said NOPD Commander Bob Bardy.
“The victim was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said NOPD Sgt. Daniel Scanlan. “She gets off the streetcar and she’s standing there, when a gun battle breaks out down the street.”
Police found 27 .45-caliber shell casings on Erato closer to Carondelet, Scanlan said. The only video recovered so far appears to show two groups of two people each shooting at one another, Scanlan said, and investigators are trying to get the footage enhanced so it will be more useful to investigators.
Sixth District police were called to another shooting not far away on Danneel Street about 20 minutes after the St. Charles Avenue incident, and originally considered the possibility that the gun battle had simply moved locations, Bardy said. Investigators have since determined that the Danneel Street shooting was unrelated, possibly tied to a dispute between two men over a woman, Bardy said.
Saturday’s shooting was latest outbreak of gun violence on St. Charles near Erato Street. In 2012, two people were injured in a shooting during a Mardi Gras parade at the same intersection. During parades, police regularly make gun arrests there as well — such as in 2012, in both the first weekend and second weekend of parades in 2013, and again in 2014.
Bardy said Saturday’s shooting shows the need for participation in the new Safecam NOLA program that will create an index of private surveillance cameras around the city. Theoretically, Bardy said, such a system would allow investigators in the Sixth District station to track the suspects after they ran off on Erato Street, possibly finding a better image of them on the way.
Anyone who can help with the investigation is urged to call Sixth District detectives at 658-6060, or to call CrimeStoppers at 822-1111 to leave an anonymous tip that could be eligible for a cash reward.