Masked gunmen opened fire indiscriminately in a weekend shooting spree in the inner-city community of New Orleans, grazing at least one resident as she scampered for safety over a two-day reign of terror.
A Barbados TODAY team found residents reflecting on the gun attack, tell-tale bullet holes, a slow police response, and their lucky escape from death or serious injury.
Tony Rock, who said he had grown up in the area, said that upon seeing the masked bandits appear, he broke for cover despite suffering a recent stroke.
“When I first heard the gunshots, I look around because I thought that it was something that was hollering. But then when I looked around I saw men in ski masks and then I decide I got to run now,” he said.
Rock pleaded for the perpetrators to stand down, saying that many lives were at stake during the wild shooting in the community.
“I would just like them to watch out for the innocent people because there are a lot of people that live in the community and there are a lot of innocent bystanders that were hurt. I would just like them to hold it down,” he told Barbados TODAY.
A bystander who identified herself as ‘Susie Joseph’ who was grazed by a stray bullet, said that upon hearing the gunshots she ran and did not look back.
“ I was outside. [I] heard the gun shots. [I] run and [didn’t] look back,” she said, adding that she did not believe she was targeted as she does not interfere with anyone in the community.
“Run and get out the place. I ain’t know I do anybody nothing. Targeting bear women that can’t do anything],” she said of her mostly female household.
The woman who was visibly distraught said she would like to tell the masked shooters to be mindful of the area’s children.
“I would like them to know they got children in the area and old people,” she said.
After realizing a passing bullet had struck her right arm, she then sought medical attention at the Black Rock Polyclinic and was treated with a tetanus shot.
She also told Barbados TODAY that she was thankful for life and prayed regularly, regardless of where she was.
“I thankful for life. I like to pray. I could be on a bus I pray on the bus. Don’t care what I doing I does pray because there is someone over us,” she said.
Another resident who did not want to be identified said that she ran and dropped her cellular phone when she heard the bullets flying through her home.
“[I] drop the phone and run into the bathroom,” she said.
Another resident who declined to disclose her name out of fear for her life bluntly said that she was so frightened she almost defecated.
“I did frighten . . . . I did wanna [defecate]; it did sound like explosions,” she said.
She told Barbados TODAY that she would like the perpetrators to know that residents do not want to be afraid when in their own community.
“It is a community; you can’t make people frighten so in the community. It is the part you supposed to feel safe, not frightened. I never hear so much shots yet, I did really want to [defecate],” she said.
Edwin Rollock, a retired public safety officer in the United States, who recently returned to Barbados to enjoy his retirement said that had the shooting occurred in the US, the entire street would have been locked down and the bandits caught.
“I just retired in New York as a public safety officer for 33 years and six months, so I am aware of what is going on.”
Rollock’s criticism was levelled at the police response. “In New York no one can take over the street for five minutes without police response. When shots fire the helicopters are in the air,” he said.
He suggested that in a police lockdown “those shooters would not be able to escape. They were shooting more than 20 minutes and I can’t really count the rounds but it was really out of whack”.
It was Rollock’s 20-year-old sedan, that was in the line of fire. The vehicle was removed by police officers as evidence.
“I have a 1998 Nissan Maxima that I just brought home from New York as a returning national. I feel violated at this point; I ain’t mad but who am I going to get mad at? So, what happened is I have third-party [insurance coverage] so I would have to fix my car my myself. I got four shots in the back windshield. I think they got two at the front. I got another shot in my right rear light and my front tyre was blown out,” he said.