Gunmen fire on Mother’s Day parade

Gunmen opened fire Sunday on people marching in a Mother’s Day parade, wounding at least 19, police said.

Police spokeswoman Remi Braden said in an e-mail that many of the victims were grazed and that most of the wounds were not life-threatening. No deaths were reported.

The victims included 10 men, seven women, a boy and a girl. The children, both 10 years old, were grazed and are in good condition. Police said at least two people were in surgery Sunday night.

Police officers were interspersed with the marchers, which is routine for such events. As many as 400 people joined in the procession, which stretched for about three blocks, although only half that many were in the immediate vicinity of the shooting, Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said.

Police saw three possible gunmen running from the scene in the city’s Seventh Ward neighborhood. No arrests had been made as of late afternoon.

The event was a “second-line” parade, which are loose processions in which people dance down the street, often following a brass band. They can be impromptu or planned and are sometimes described as moving block parties.

A social club called the Original Big 7 organized Sunday’s event. The group was founded in 1996 at the Saint Bernard housing projects, according to its Web site.

The neighborhood where the shooting happened is a mix of low-income and middle-class rowhouses, some boarded up. As of last year, the neighborhood’s population was about 60 percent of its pre-Hurricane Katrina level.

Police vowed to make swift arrests. Serpas said it was not clear whether particular people in the parade were targeted or whether the shots were fired randomly.

“We’ll get them. We have good resources in this neighborhood,” Serpas said.

— Associated Press

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