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Oct 5, 2010 9:27 AM by Posted by Sharlee Barriere

Police Call Levee Death 'Senseless"

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A group firing their guns into the air on the Mississippi River levee resulted in two people getting shot, and one dying.
Another group thought they were being shot at, pulled their guns and fired back.
Police spokesman L'Jean McKneely says Darius Augustus, 17, a bystander walking through the crowd looking for a friend was caught in the middle of Saturday night's shooting "It was senseless and tragic," McKneely said. "There was no argument, no altercation between any of the groups of people on the levee. For no apparent reason, one group started firing in the air and that started everything."
Police have determined Augustus and the five family members and friends he was with had nothing to do with the shooting and were not targeted by the shooter, McKneely said.
While plenty of leads are coming in to police, there are still no suspects, McKneely said.
"But we did have surveillance cameras in the area and our detectives are going through those right now," he added.
"We do think the shooting was caught on tape," he said.
McKneely said there is usually a crowd of people walking on the levee on weekend nights, but that crowd has grown since the 13th Gate - a Halloween attraction - opened Sept. 23.
Dwayne Sanburn, owner Midnight Productions and the 13th Gate, said about 50,000 people will go through the haunted house during the 25 days it's opened.
Sanburn said he employs from five to 10 off-duty deputies to patrol the area around the haunted house depending on how large the crowds are on a given night. He also said he has the support of the Police Department.
Augustus' shooting is the second shooting involving bystanders on the levee since July 4, 2007, when Robert Blunschi, 21 at the time, and Kayla Smith, 16 at the time, were wounded in a shooting during the July Fourth celebration.
That incident occurred as thousands of people were leaving the fireworks show at the Mississippi River levee at the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial and Museum.
A bullet struck Smith, causing serious damage to her spine. Blunschi was shot in the head and suffered brain damage.


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