5 dead in spate of shootings

The fatal shooting of a man in the St. Claude neighborhood Tuesday morning continued a four-day stretch of violence that has left five people dead in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, and several others wounded.

John Gagliano, chief investigator for the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office, identified the victim as Mason Johnson, 36, of New Orleans. Police found Johnson dead next to utility pole in the 3000 block of Villere Street shortly after 8 a.m. Officer Garry Flot, a police spokesman, said police responded to the scene after receiving a report of someone lying in the street and found the man with a gunshot wound to the neck. No motive or suspects were released in the shooting.

The shooting happened in an industrial area a short distance from any residential homes. A single neighbor indicated that he was sleeping at the time of the shooting and saw nothing.

The slaying was the fourth homicide in New Orleans in as many days. It came as police were already investigating the fatal shooting of Devanta Thomas, 18, shot near the intersection of Lasalle and Delachaise Streets around 3:45 p.m. on Monday. Thomas was found lying in the street with multiple gunshot wounds to the body, according to police. He died later at a local hospital.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office also is investigating a homicide. Troy Hensley, 48, was found dead in the 1600 block of Apache Drive in Harvey after deputies responded to reports of gunfire in the area at about 7:13 p.m., said Col. John Fortunato, a sheriff’s spokesman. Authorities believe Hensley was shot near the corner of Apache Drive and Manhattan Boulevard in the parking lot of a business. The area has high vehicle traffic and several businesses.

No motive or suspects have identified in that incident as well. Hensley’s widow declined to discuss his death in front of their apartment, just a few yards from where he was gunned down.

In addition to the homicides, New Orleans police are investigating several non-fatal shootings, including a robbery at a popular Uptown eatery that included gun play. Police were called out to “Dat Dog” restaurant in the 5000 block of Freret Street on Monday after an employee was shot in the arm during a robbery.

The victim told police he was inside the business with a rear door open around 10:15 a.m. when a man entered, demanded money and shot the victim in the arm before fleeing. No information was released on the suspect in that incident.

Police are also investigating a shooting near the intersection of North Claiborne Street and Iberville Streets that damaged a school bus. That incident occurred at about 4:37 p.m. The victim told police he was walking home from work when an unknown vehicle approached him and someone began shooting.

The victim was shot four times in the back and legs. A school bus carrying students from an Algiers high school was caught in the crossfire and had a window shattered. One child was hit by flying glass, but no serious injuries were reported.