New Orleans police on Monday identified a suspect in connection with a shooting at a Mother’s Day parade that injured 19 people, including two children, as residents expressed outrage over the violence.
Police said the suspect, 19-year-old Akein Scott, remained at large but had been identified by multiple people.
“The time has come for him to turn himself in,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said.
Serpas said Scott was last arrested in March and has a criminal history that includes charges for possessing narcotics and a firearm and resisting arrest. Police investigated three addresses linked to Scott but could not find him, Serpas said.
Earlier on Monday police released photos that they said showed a suspect in the shooting, which led to tips that helped with the identification.
“People today chose to be on the side of young, innocent children who were shot, and not on the side of a coward who shot into a crowd,” Serpas said.
The image singling out the suspect did not clearly show a face, and police, who released the photographs on YouTube asked for the public’s help in identifying and finding the person. A US$10,000 reward was offered for information that might help find the shooter.
The photographs, taken from a surveillance video, first show crowds of people in a street, and then the crowd is seen scattering and ducking. The final image focuses on what appears to be a man in a white shirt leaving the scene on foot as other people are lying on the pavement.
Ten men, seven women and a girl and a boy, both 10-years-old, were shot when one or more people opened fire at the parade on Sunday. The children were grazed but in good condition, police said.
Serpas earlier on Monday said he had not ruled out that the shooting was gang-related or that there was more than one shooter.
Violent crime in New Orleans ranks above the national average in FBI surveys. A poll of residents in 2010 found crime to be their greatest concern.
Residents gathered on Monday evening with religious leaders and Mayor Mitch Landrieu at the site of the shooting to voice their anger and discuss solutions for cutting crime.
“To all the young people who are committing the violence... I don’t understand why jail is such a cool place to be. You’re a coward,” said Jessica Strange, a social worker.
Many of the people at the outdoor meeting had also attended the parade, which the sponsoring neighbourhood club said it hoped to hold again in June depending on permits.
“We all came out here to basically reclaim this spot and to say what happened yesterday on this spot does not reflect what the people of New Orleans are or what we are about,” Landrieu said.
“Yesterday was a symbol of a much, much deeper problem ... and the people of New Orleans are here today to say it’s unacceptable and has to stop,” the mayor said. “Nobody out there is at fault but everybody is responsible.”