Two slain in New Orleans shooting


New Orleans -

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People grieve at the scene of a shooting in the Lower Ninth neighbourhood of New Orleans. Picture:, The Times-Picayune, Michael DeMockerAn ambulance pulls up to the Westin Hotel in New Orleans. Picture:, The Times-Picayune, Julia Kumari Drapkin

A drive-by shooting in a New Orleans neighbourhood that has struggled with crime since being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 left a man and an 18-year-old woman dead and five others wounded, three of them children, police said.

A woman and two children, aged 2 and 4, were in critical condition and a 13-year-old girl and a 37-year-old woman were in stable condition after the shooting in the Lower 9th Ward, Officer Frank Robertson, a police spokesman, said in a news release.

He said all were in front of a house when a dark car occupied by men drove up, opened fire and sped off. The slain man appeared to be in his late 20s, Robertson said in an email.

The Lower Ninth, a predominantly black neighbourhood less than 8km from the bustling tourist district of the French Quarter, was overwhelmed by Hurricane Katrina's floods in 2005.

In a separate, unrelated spate of violence, a 20-year-old man shot a friend on Sunday morning inside a hotel room at the edge of the Quarter, then killed himself after a three-hour standoff with police, authorities said.

The shootings were the latest in a city dependent on tourists. In June, two men exchanged gunfire on Bourbon Street, killing one person and wounding nine others.

The hotel shootings happened in a 17th-floor room at The Westin on Canal Street, where four friends from the Lafayette area were staying together for the weekend, Robertson said.

Three of them came in from partying, waking the fourth at about 5am. The man returned to sleep only to be awakened by the plea, “Put the gun down”. The 20-year-old, looking “dazed and confused under the influence of some unknown substance”, was pointing a gun at their 24-year-old friend, Robertson said.

The older man kept asking his friend to put the gun down, Robertson said, but at about 6.30am, the 20-year-old man shot him in the chest. The other two ran for help, hearing a second shot as they fled.

When hotel staff let police into the room, the 20-year-old pointed a gun at them, Robertson said. The officers backed out and called a SWAT team.

After about three hours of negotiations, the 20-year-old man apparently shot himself and the SWAT team stormed in. He was pronounced dead at 9.55am.

Rescue workers rushed the 24-year-old to a hospital where he was in stable condition on Sunday evening.

Police have not identified the men. Lafayette is about 200km west of New Orleans. - Sapa-AP

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