Toddler slain in crossfire at ’10 parade
Memory seemed to serve Sean Briggs poorly.
The 28-year-old convict, a key witness to the killing of 2-year-old Jeremy Galmon at a Sunday afternoon second-line parade in 2010, sought to distance himself from a statement he gave to police not long afterward, as he testified Thursday in a murder trial over the toddler’s death.
Briggs, one of the apparent intended targets in the Sept. 26, 2010, shooting at First and Dryades streets in Central City, kinked his head and claimed a memory lapse while denying that he gave his statement voluntarily to police.
At first refusing to cooperate, Briggs later identified cousins Jarimon Pollard, 31, and Bernell “Benny” Pollard, 34, as the two men who fired away, hitting the toddler with a fatal bullet as he sat on his grandmother’s lap in a parked car, according to police.
His statement to police came after Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office offered him immunity from prosecution on a gun charge stemming from the incident.
Police say Briggs had been riding in a Chevrolet Impala with another man, Sedale Dorsey, about a block away from the parade, and admitted pulling out a gun when the shooting started, then stashing it under a house.
Both Briggs and Dorsey were booked as felons in possession of a firearm. They later gave statements identifying the shooters.
“I guess it was a trade-off. I don’t even remember,” Briggs testified.
“Did you see anybody fire shots at you on the day Jeremy Galmon was shot?” asked Bernell Pollard’s defense attorney, Arthur Harris.
“It was three years ago. I can’t remember,” Briggs replied.
Asked if he gave his statement voluntarily to prosecutors, Briggs said: “Never have, never will.” Same for police, he said.
The Pollard cousins face life in prison if convicted. Dorsey, 23, the other apparent target of the shooting, was gunned down a month after the second-line parade shooting while he sat in a wheelchair in the 2000 block of South Liberty Street.
He had been in a wheelchair as a result of a prior shooting.
On Wednesday, New Orleans police Detective Robert Long recounted Dorsey sobbing as he gave an account of the shooting and identified his alleged assailants.
The motive for Dorsey’s killing was unclear, but it led to the conviction last year of Joseph Peters on a manslaughter charge, and a 40-year prison sentence meted out by Criminal District Judge Laurie White.
An indictment that a state grand jury handed up last year tied together the toddler’s killing with a separate Christmas Day 2007 shooting that claimed 17-year-old James Jones and 18-year-old Wendell Millro outside a house in the 2400 block of Josephine Street, also in Central City.
Along with the Pollard cousins, the indictment named another man, Akeem Mills, 27, in that shooting spree.
At the time, Cannizzaro’s office declined to describe the nature of the connection between the two shootings.
Jeremy, who liked to ride a Big Wheel, apparently was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle on the parade route, sparking the kind of caustic community outrage that has accompanied several murders of young children in New Orleans over the past few years.
Other witnesses on Thursday described a close-range gunfight on either side of the car where Jeremy sat.
But like others, Ashley Booker, whose own child also was in the parked car, said she couldn’t identify the shooters.
“I can’t say who was shooting. I can’t say,” Booker said. “My focus wasn’t on who was shooting. It was making sure my child was all right.”
She described opening the car door.
“The baby, well his head, he fell from me opening the door. I pushed his head in the car,” she said. “He was basically taking his last breaths. His eyes were rolling. He was covered in blood. His tongue was dancing in his mouth.
“I stood there screaming.”