Police arrested two suspects at a house targeted by a multiple shooting on South Alexander Street after finding stashes of heroin, marijuana and more than $2,000 in cash, Sgt. Mark Mulla told Mid-City residents at a neighborhood organization meeting Monday night.
Police still haven’t arrested any suspects for committing the shooting, however.
More than 40 bullets were fired during the April 7 quadruple shooting, which happened at about 2:30 a.m. on the 500 block of South Alexander Street, police said.
“As a detective, I felt like what we had was a retaliatory shooting of some kind,” Mulla said during the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization meeting. “So we looked at the homes, and did an operation targeting those two homes.”
Detectives arrived on the scene at about 2:45 a.m. on April 7, Mulla said, where they found several people who had suffered minor injuries from gunshot wounds. According to witnesses interviewed by detectives, four individuals got out of two separate cars and opened fire on a group of people that had congregated outside of two houses on South Alexander Street, firing an “excess of 40 shots” from different weapons, he added.
Both shell casings and a doctor’s evaluations of a victim’s wound found that shots were fired from both an assault weapon and from a shotgun, Mulla said. Despite the number of bullets that flew through the air, only two people went to the hospital for minor injuries in lower extremities, and one person was merely grazed by a bullet, he added.
“The best and most fortunate thing about this incident is that individual wounds were not life-threatening,” Mulla said. “I knew it was a very serious shooting with serious weapons.”
Although witnesses were able to tell detectives the general scenario of what had happened, no one identified individuals or vehicles involved in the shooting, Mulla added.
“We had no names, no plates — we didn’t have a lot to go on,” Mulla said, adding that crime cameras in the area were of little help because there were so few of them, and the ones present didn’t point in the direction of the incident.
Since the New Orleans Police Department suspected it was retaliatory, however, they investigated the homes targeted and found that each residence had a subject who was wanted on probation, Mulla said. Once in the house, the narcotics unit saw suspect behavior.
The NOPD got a warrant and officers were able to recover 23 bags of marijuana and 31 small bags of heroin, all individually packaged, as well as more than $2,300 in cash, Mulla said. Two suspects were arrested for possession of heroin and marijuana with intent to distribute and the use and possession of narcotics in the presence of minors, he added.
Mulla said that as of Monday the police department wasn’t ready to release the names of those arrested.
Although he says NOPD was “very satisfied” with what they recovered using the warrant, the police department isn’t close to being able to find the suspects who shot at the house, Mulla added.
“I would lead you in a big lie if I said this was a very solvable case,” he said. “Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with narcotics the statements you get don’t always hold up in court. Nor do the witness statements always remain the same. We’ve hit a number of roadblocks.”
At the meeting, Mid-City resident and bar owner Pauline Patterson asked if the people victimized were members of a gang. Mulla responded that they weren’t known to be.
Patterson also had a question about the appropriate steps to take if residents suspect drug activity in their areas.
Mulla said to call 911 if residents witness drug activity at that moment, crimestoppers if it’s “cumulative” drug activity or the local district police. He reminded residents that they could call in anonymously. but Mid-City Security District Chairman Jim Olsen added that he would help facilitate anonymity.
“We will report it and your information will stay out of it entirely,” Olsen said.
During the meeting, Mid-City Neighborhood Organization member Bonnie Garrigan said that she was “sad” to have to announce the incident.
“We haven’t really had these violent events lately,” Garrigan said.