Man questioned in New Orleans shooting
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man identified by Louisiana police as a “person of interest” in connection with a weekend shooting in New Orleans turned himself in to police Wednesday and was jailed on unrelated charges.
Justin Odom, 20, was booked into the Jefferson Parish jail on shoplifting and traffic-related charges, New Orleans Police Department Officer Hilal Williams said.
“Our detectives questioned him in the presence of his attorney,” Williams said.
Odom was not booked on any charges related to the shooting, which happened early Sunday on New Orleans’ tourist-clogged Bourbon Street.
Odom turned himself in hours after police announced that they were looking for him and that one of the shooting victims, a 21-year-old woman, had died. Nine other people were shot but were expected to survive.
Earlier Wednesday, Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson asked for a moment of silence after announcing the death of the woman, from Hammond. A spokesman for the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office later Wednesday confirmed the woman had died but did not release her name.
In addition to Odom, police said they were looking for one of his associates named Josh or Joe, also described as a person of interest.
Edmonson spoke at a news conference to discuss Landrieu’s request for a permanent contingent of troopers to help with law enforcement in New Orleans.
Edmonson said state police doesn’t have the manpower to put a permanent contingent of 100 troopers in New Orleans. However, he said he is looking at redeploying the approximately 45 people already assigned to New Orleans as the city comes to grips with Sunday’s deadly shooting in the French Quarter.
Landrieu had asked for the extra police presence to help the city’s police force following the early Sunday shooting. Ten people, most of them visitors to the city, were hit.
Three of the shooting victims were reported in stable condition Wednesday: a 35-year-old man from Mississippi, a 19-year-old Arkansas woman, and an 18-year-old New Orleans man.
LSU Interim Hospital spokeswoman Siona LaFrance said Wednesday that a 21-year-old Australian woman was released from the hospital.
Other victims, not hospitalized, included two New Orleans-area men; a teenage girl and a woman from Alabama; and a Florida man.
The Australian woman, identified by The West Australian (http://yhoo.it/1mRHNBd ) as Amy Williams, of Mount Hawthorn, a suburb of Perth in Western Australia, did not immediately respond Wednesday to messages sent via her Facebook page or “Repair Amy’s smile,” a Facebook page created to raise money to reconstruct her teeth.
She told the newspaper that all or part of a bullet went in through her right cheek and out through her top lip, knocking out most of her teeth, burning her gums and requiring 30 stitches in her tongue and a metal support for the roof of her mouth.
The shootings happened at about 2:45 a.m. Sunday, as tourists walked the historic street of century-old, neon-bedecked buildings, housing bars, restaurants, shops and strip clubs in the heart of the city’s oldest neighborhood.
Police Chief Ronal Serpas has said that nine officers — four on foot and five on horseback — were assigned to Bourbon Street at that time and officers arrived within seconds.
Even so, Serpas and Landrieu both said they would like to see the city police force, now around 1,200 after years of attrition, beefed up to around 1,600.
Serpas said overtime and people from other parts of the department will put 500 extra officers on duty in key spots as thousands of visitors hit town for the annual Essence Festival, which begins Thursday.
State police also will be helping with Essence security.
Edmonson spoke to reporters before briefing a temporary contingent of 30 troopers brought in for the annual festival, which draws thousands of tourists during the Independence Day weekend.
State police often supplement city police with extra troopers during special events such as Mardi Gras or Super Bowls. Edmonson said the state doesn’t usually bring in extra troopers during Essence, but the decision was made to do so after Sunday’s shooting.
As for Landrieu’s request for a 100-person permanent contingent, Edmonson said he has to keep other areas of the state in mind. “I’d have to take them from somewhere else,” he said.