NEW ORLEANS, La. — (AP) - New Orleans police are investigating a mass shooting that wounded 10 people early Sunday near the city's famed French Quarter.
Two of the 10 were in critical condition in local hospitals, Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said. No arrests were announced by midday Sunday.
"What happened in our city overnight was a cowardly and senseless act that we cannot and will not tolerate," Ferguson said in a statement.
Ferguson told The New Orleans Advocate/The Times-Picayune that a person of interest has been detained, but it was not immediately clear whether the person had any connection to the shooting.
The shooting happened about 3:20 a.m. on a busy commercial block of Canal Street that has streetcar tracks and is near many hotels.
Ferguson said police quickly responded to the scene as patrols were heightened for this weekend's Bayou Classic, the annual Thanksgiving weekend rivalry football game between Grambling State and Southern University at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"While this investigation is in the very beginning stages, one thing is certain - we will not stop until we identify and arrest those responsible," Ferguson said in his statement.
New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell also pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.
"The shootings on Canal Street early this morning were an ugly disruption of an otherwise beautiful holiday weekend. We will do everything we can to wrap the victims and their families in our love and support, and to bring the criminals responsible to justice," she said via Twitter on Sunday.
Kenneth Culbreth told The New Orleans Advocate/The Times-Picayune that he had gone into a CVS pharmacy in the early morning hours to make a quick purchase. Moments later, he walked out to a crime scene.
"On my way out of the CVS, I heard pops," Culbreth said. "It was so many, I couldn't keep count."
Culbreth spent the rest of the morning watching the scene, with law enforcement and several emergency vehicles moving in and out at a rapid pace.
Police initially said 10 people were wounded. They later said 11 were wounded, but the police department then sent a statement saying the correct number was 10.
Sunday morning just before noon, the NOPD released a statement on the shooting from NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson
“What happened in our city overnight was a cowardly and senseless act that we cannot and will not tolerate. For a fourth straight year, New Orleans continues to see significant reductions in violent crime. Mayor Cantrell, myself and all of City leadership remain steadfast and committed to continuing that trend. We will not let the acts of a few deter us. While this investigation is in the very beginning stages, one thing is certain – we will not stop until we identify and arrest those responsible.
"We urge anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact NOPD Homicide Unit detectives at 504-658-5300. Also, persons with information can call anonymously to Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 1-877-903-STOP. A reward of up to $5,000 is available for information leading to an arrest in this investigation."
“To the victims – you are in our thoughts and prayers, and we will work tirelessly to bring those behind this cowardly act to justice. That is a promise.”
Mayor LaToya Cantrell today issued the following statement regarding the shooting early Sunday morning on Canal Street:
"When people resort to gun violence to resolve problems, it never creates solutions — only innocent victims and trauma. The shootings on Canal Street early this morning were an ugly disruption of an otherwise beautiful holiday weekend. We will do everything we can to wrap the victims and their families in our love and support, and to bring the criminals responsible to justice.The City of New Orleans will not allow incidents like this to derail the progress we have made, or to further disrupt our community."
"I applaud our public safety team for their instant and efficient response — particularly our NOPD officers who were on the scene within seconds. This tragedy will not define us, and it will not deter us from moving our City forward and keeping our people safe."