Emergency responders in New Orleans said most of the public heeded officials’ warnings to stay off the streets as Hurricane Zeta struck the city on Wednesday, but in the first 24 hours following landfall there were still at least four shootings, including a deadly one.
The violence began about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, right as the powerful Category 2 storm’s eye was passing over the city. A 20-year-old man was shot multiple times by another man who pulled up in a maroon van, stepped out and began firing a gun in the 900 block of Lizardi Street in the Lower 9th Ward.
Paramedics took the wounded man to the hospital, and the attacker fled, police said.
Another man was found shot to death in the 4100 block of Eden Street on the edge of Broadmoor about 9:20 p.m. Police said officers were investigating a call reporting shots fired in that area, and they found the slain man lying on the street with several bullet wounds.
Then, at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, a man was shot in his neck at the corner of Saratoga and 2nd streets in Central City, police said. The shooter fled and paramedics took the man to a hospital, according to police.
Another shooting erupted at the corner of Bullard Avenue and Hayne Boulevard in the Little Woods section of New Orleans East just before noon Thursday. The gunfire wounded a man, and paramedics took him to a hospital.
Authorities didn’t identify victims, name suspects or discuss possible motives for any of the cases.
As of Thursday afternoon, New Orleans has reported a 53% increase in non-fatal shootings this year when compared to 2019, and killings are up nearly 70%, unofficial statistics maintained by the City Council showed.
Street violence in New Orleans can sometimes slow down when the city hunkers down hours or days during a tropical storm or hurricane.
But with Zeta, that period of staying indoors came and went quickly. The storm moved unusually fast, making landfall in Cocodrie about 4 p.m. Wednesday before completely leaving southeast Louisiana just a few hours later.
By Wednesday night, winds had died down enough that some people were already venturing out into the city even though power outages left it bathed in darkness.
As of Thursday afternoon, the only known fatality in New Orleans from Zeta was a 55-year-old man who touched a low-hanging live wire in the Gert Town area and was electrocuted on Wednesday night.
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