Investigators released the name of a suspect Wednesday in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old on Freret Street, and said the same man may have been ambushed by others shortly after the shooting on Freret.
William Baham, 25, is wanted on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Errol Meeks, who was gunned down late Monday in front of Friar Tucks bar on Freret.
Moments before the shooting, Baham and Meeks spoke “as if they knew each other,” said Sgt. Shaun Ferguson of the NOPD Second District persons-crime division. Meeks was a resident of the Freret neighborhood, and police have two addresses for Baham, one on nearby General Taylor Street in the nearby Milan neighborhood and one on Parc Brittany in New Orleans East.
Shortly after the shooting, gunshots rang out near the intersection of Carondelet and Peniston streets in the Delachaise area of the Milan neighborhood. Police found a car abandoned in the middle of the street, with bullet impacts all around it and more than a dozen shell casings on the ground, arranged in such a way that it appeared the shooters were waiting for the car and ambushed it, Ferguson said. Information found in the vehicle suggested that the car belongs to Baham, Ferguson said.
Investigators have not yet established why Baham would shoot Meeks, Ferguson said. An arrest history of Baham released by the NOPD lists 20 previous charges against him, including attempted second-degree murder and multiple marijuana and gun possession cases. By contrast, Meeks had a good reputation in the neighborhood, Ferguson said.
“He wasn’t on our radar at all,” Ferguson said. “He wasn’t that type of person.”
Neighbors are planning a vigil for Meeks at 7 p.m. tonight at the shooting site on Freret near Dufossat Street.
Monday night’s shooting on Freret was part of a flareup of gun violence in Uptown neighborhoods just after the New Year, Ferguson said at the Second District’s weekly departmental meeting Wednesday. Among the other recent cases:– Jermal Jarell, 17, was arrested Tuesday following an armed robbery near Marlborough Gate Place, also in the Freret area. Jarell has also been arrested for previous gun charges, and police are also investigating his possible connection to a rash of armed robberies in the Uptown area through December, Ferguson said.
An officer injured in Jarell’s arrest is recovery well with stitches in her chin, said Capt. Darryl Albert. He attributed Jarell’s quick arrest to the fact that so many officers were already in the area when the robbery was reported.
“He was 17 years old, but he seemed like he had 17 years of crime under his belt,” Albert said. “It took a whole collective effort to get this guy off the street. He was on a crash course; he was going to hurt somebody.”
– Two shootings were reported on Saturday. In one, a man fell off his bicycle in the 7100 block of Fig Street in the Fontainebleau neighborhood, became angry when a resident working on his house laughed and swore to return, Ferguson said. Not long afterward, the bicyclist’s son showed up at the home with a second person, who then shot the resident six times, Ferguson said. Police located both the father and the son, but have yet to identify the shooter, Ferguson said. The victim’s injuries were not life-threatening, he said.
– In the second shooting Saturday, a woman parked on the street near the intersection of Dante and Belfast in the Hollygrove neighborhood, and a man walked up and asked if she was lost, Ferguson said. She replied that she was picking something up, and the man walked away, only to return a moment later and begin firing at her from outside the car, Ferguson said. She was hit several times and was initially hospitalized with critical injuries, but has since stabilized and begun recovering, Ferguson said.
– Tuesday night, a man and a woman got into a domestic dispute in the 4000 block of Prytania in the Touro neighborhood, and the woman pushed the man out the front door of their home, Ferguson said. When he opened the door to go back in, she was holding his gun and fired a shot that missed him and struck the top of the door frame, Ferguson said. She fled on foot but was found later in the 2200 block of Upperline.
– On Monday, a woman on her porch in the 1900 block of Robert Street was confronted by a man who asked to use her cell phone, Ferguson said. When she said she didn’t have one, he grabbed her purse and ran off with it after a short struggle, Ferguson said. The woman was uninjured but the man has not yet been located, Ferguson said.
Though the traditional hotspots for crime in the Second District are the Hollygrove and Milan areas, more criminal activity has moved into the Freret area on the lake side of St. Charles in recent weeks, Albert said. He has assigned more officers to the area, while still attempting to maintain extra manpower in the areas that traditionally need it as well.