New Orleans — Although violence was avoided along parade routes and in the French Quarter, Mardi Gras was still marred by two homicides and a non-fatal shooting that New Orleans police are investigating.
Police are searching for information in the fatal shootings of Kiran Harris, 22, and Zabrina Davis, 34, who were killed in separate incidents Tuesday.
The shootings happened within blocks of each other, and another unidentified woman was wounded when Davis was shot.
Police were called out investigate Harris’ death first, around 6:15 p.m. in the 1800 block of Laharpe Street in the Seventh Ward. Police said officers discovered Harris with a gunshot wound to the head, and he later died at a local hospital. No motives or suspects have been released in that incident.
About two hours later, police were called to the 1800 block of Onzaga Street near a popular seafood restaurant. Officers found two women with gunshot wounds at that location. Police say an unidentified man walked up to the two women and opened fire on them. Both victims were taken to a local hospital for treatment, and Davis later died from a gunshot wound to the back.
The other victim was shot in the stomach, and she is in stable condition.
The violence came during rainy weather that reduced crowd size on the holiday, and as officials focused on preventing violence along popular parade routes such as St. Charles Avenue. Shootings on St. Charles in 2009 and 2012 were highly publicized and caused concern about violence during the holiday.
Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said his officers were planning to be particularly aggressive in targeting individuals who might be armed along parade routes. That crime carries an enhanced a stiffer sentence upon conviction.
Police have reported making 47 arrests and seizing 49 guns along the parade route and in the French Quarter during the 12-day Carnival season. Police reported a total of 879 arrests in the Eighth District, which includes the French Quarter and Central Business District, although a sizable chunk of those arrests were made through a summons.
Concerns about Mardi Gras violence were intensified after a quadruple shooting Saturday on Bourbon Street that drew intense media scrutiny and quick response from law enforcement. Police have arrested two suspects in the incident, Deron Bridgewater, 23, and Brandon Brown, 21, and are searching for another man. Three of the four victims in the shooting have been released from the hospital.
Jefferson Parish largely avoided violence on Mardi Gras, with the Sheriff’s Office reporting minor arrests for disturbing peace, narcotics possession and criminal mischief, according to Col. John Fortunato, a sheriff’s spokesman.
Since the Carnival season began in Jefferson Parish on Jan. 20, deputies have made 38 arrests at parades and other events, Fortunato said. The most serious incident was a weapon recovered Sunday at a parade by the Krewe of Napoleon.