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Sep 27, 2010 9:09 PM by Alison Haynes

Homicide experts arrive in N.O. amid boy's slaying

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A team of Justice Department experts is in
the city to evaluate the police department's homicide unit as the
mayor on Monday called on witnesses to help solve a high-profile
fatal shooting of a toddler.
Police are searching for the gunman who fired a stray bullet
that killed 2-year-old Jeremy Galmon in a parked car two blocks
from a "second line," a traditional New Orleans walking parade
Sunday afternoon.
The investigation coincides with the arrival of a team from the
Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance. Mayor Mitch
Landrieu and Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas invited the experts
to help the troubled police force improve how it conducts homicide
investigations.
Serpas, who called on the shooters to turn themselves in, said
detectives are following up on leads and "making headway" on the
case.
"This case is endemic of a problem in our community that we're
going to fix," he said. "Our police department is going to get
better."
Landrieu urged people to help identify the boy's killer.
"We know that there were people on the street who know who did
this, and it's unacceptable now to not come forward," he said.
"We have an obligation, we have a responsibility to make sure that
this child's life has some meaning."
Investigators recovered a gun from the shooting in a Central
City neighborhood where the Young Men Olympian Junior Benevolent
Association's second-line parade had just passed. However, police
believe at least two people exchanged gunfire during a fight.
Witnesses told investigators the gunman got out of a dark blue
four-door vehicle, possibly an older model Impala, and got back in
after the shooting. Officers saw and chased the car, but it got
away on Interstate 10, police said.
Justice Department probes of the New Orleans Police Department
have resulted in charges this year against 18 current or former
officers.
The nine-member team will assess the homicide unit's procedures
and practices.
"Their work here is to take cases of unknown murder suspects
and look at the first 24 hours, and those are critical hours,"
Serpas said. "They are here to do a thorough, front-to-back
analysis of everything we do that involves murder investigations."
Jeremy's grandmother and two other young children were in the
car when the bullet pierced a window and struck him in the head.
His mother was walking toward the parade route at the time of the
shooting.
Landrieu downplayed any connection between the shooting and the
parade. He described the groups that organize second-line parades
as an "essential part of the culture and the history" of the
city.

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