Irish police officer shot during visit to New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An Irish police officer on vacation in New Orleans was shot by an armed robber, one of the latest victims in a string of shootings that have put the city on edge as it gets ready to kick off Carnival festivities.
Brian Hanrahan was in serioub but stable condition Wednesday, a day after he was shot in a residential area about 15 blocks from the French Quarter. Hanrahan told officers he was robbed after withdrawing money from an ATM, accompanied by a man who told him where he could get a drink at that hour. Police say the shooting happened at 5:40 a.m.
Officers said they haven’t found a suspect or Hanrahan’s wallet.
The officer’s shooting came a day after a 17-year-old high school student was killed on his way to school. Detectives believe the teenager was shot over an argument about a video game controller. In addition, a 29-year-old man was killed Monday and a 25-year-old woman was killed Tuesday in other parts of the city.
The shootings come as police struggle with a shrunken force and an increase in violent crime.
“The city is not safe,” said Tamara Jackson, the executive director of Silence Is Violence, a community group that works with the families of shooting victims.
She said many actions need to be taken — from stanching the flow of weapons onto the streets to beefing up the size of the police department. “We have too many young people who can get access to semiautomatic rifles, AK-47s.”
Judge James F. McKay III, an Irish honorary consul in the city, said Hanrahan worked as a police officer — known as garda in Ireland — in the Limerick area and is a father. He said Hanrahan had arrived in New Orleans with his father, who lives in Missouri. His wife and mother were expected to arrive in New Orleans on Thursday, he said.
About 1 million visitors are expected to come to New Orleans during the Carnival period, which ends on Feb. 17 with the celebration of Fat Tuesday, known in New Orleans as Mardi Gras.