53°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy
app-logo
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Police arrest suspect in Bourbon Street shootings

NEW ORLEANS — A 20-year-old man was arrested Friday in connection with a gunfight that erupted on Bourbon Street, killing one bystander and wounding nine others on the thoroughfare of nightspots that is one of New Orleans’ biggest tourist draws.

Police chief Ronal Serpas said Trung T. Le was arrested Friday afternoon in Mississippi. He will be extradited to Louisiana, where he faces one charge of first-degree murder and nine charges of attempted first-degree murder.

Le, who turns 21 in August, is from the city of Belle Chasse, near New Orleans.

Police said Le is believed to have fired the first shot in an exchange of gunfire that shattered the good-time atmosphere early Sunday in the French Quarter. Serpas said police are still working to identify another person involved in the gunfight.

“We will not stop until everybody who was involved in this has been brought to justice,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. He had joined Serpas on Friday for a public roll call of officers on duty as the city enters the 4th of July weekend while hosting the annual Essence Festival that draws thousands of visitors to the city.

Stressing that police know who Le’s associates are, Serpas issued a warning that anyone with knowledge of the crime should come forward or face possible prosecution.

Most of those hit in the Sunday morning shooting spree were visitors to the city, including Brittany Thomas, 21, from the south Louisiana city of Hammond, who died Wednesday. Others were from Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Australia. One person remained hospitalized Friday in stable condition.

The shooting happened days ahead of the Essence Festival — a major summer tourist event that opened Thursday. A contingent of 30 state police was assembled Wednesday in the city to help with patrols during the holiday weekend. And the head of the state police announced Thursday that a total of 50 state troopers and other state public safety officers would be redeployed from this weekend through Labor Day to help city police.

The number of slayings in the city declined last year and appears on pace to shrink again this year. But violent crime continues to be a major problem in New Orleans. Landrieu earlier this week acknowledged the need to beef up a police force that has diminished over the years from around 1,600 to 1,200, adding that the City Council has approved money to hire 150 new officers.

After the shootings, police released surveillance camera videos showing the gunfire and resulting mayhem. Police said they had developed “persons of interest’ thought to have knowledge of the case, but there was no sign of a break until Friday afternoon’s announcement that Le was a suspect.

Police said Detective Bruce Brueggeman obtained an arrest warrant for Trung Le Friday morning. He was caught in Mississippi by members of the New Orleans police working with U.S. marshals. Police continued to seek any pictures or videos taken in or around the crime scene at the time of the incident.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
US adds a surprisingly strong 517K jobs despite Fed hikes

The number is a surprisingly strong gain in the face of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive drive to slow growth and tame inflation with higher interest rates.

California stands alone on Colorado River water usage plan

With the recent expiration of a federal deadline, California now finds itself sharply at odds with six other states over how to take less water from the shrinking Colorado River.

Fill Lake Mead with Mississippi River water? Don’t rule it out

Amid a major drought in the Western U.S., a proposed solution comes up repeatedly: large-scale river diversions, including pumping Mississippi River water to parched states.

Large snowpack boosts California, but dry trend raises worries

Water officials say the mountain snowpack that supplies a significant amount of California’s water got an incredible boost from recent powerful storms. But the weather has turned drier.

Oregon kidnapping suspect killed 2 before suicide, police say

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, died at a hospital Tuesday night, hours after he shot himself while hiding in a crawlspace underneath a house in Grants Pass, Oregon.