Woman dead, boy, 4, injured in Sunday shooting

A 44-year-old woman died and her 4-year-old grandson suffered a gunshot wound to the head after they were attacked in a home in New Orleans East on Sunday morning, police said.

New Orleans police spokeswoman Hilal Williams said at approximately 10:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to a residence in the 1300 block of Maplewood Drive, a suburban area about a block from Michoud Boulevard.

The woman, identified as Helene Smith by her sister-in-law, Hallet Louis, was found in her bedroom with multiple gunshot wounds to the body.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

The boy was rushed to the hospital and is in stable condition.

Williams said he was coherent when police arrived and the bullet “grazed” his skull.

She said he would undergo surgery on Sunday.

Brian Louis, who lives in the neighborhood, said he was headed to the house to watch the Saints game with Smith’s son when he heard gunfire.

He said he watched two people leave the house, then speed away in a car..

It’s just sad,” he said about Smith’s death. “She was like a mom to everyone.”

The Rev. Raymond Brown, president of National Action Now, said he’d been friends with Smith for years and was headed to her home when he heard the news.

Brown said Smith was a compassionate, giving person, who once helped him pay his own light bill.

“She bought that van, and anyone who needed it, she would give them the keys,” Brown said, pointing to a white carrier van that sat in the driveway behind police tape.

The incident was the second time in the last week that a woman and a young child have been shot.

Gunmen opened fire on a woman and her 7-year-old daughter Wednesday as they fled across Airline Highway in rush hour traffic.

Both the woman and the girl are in stable condition and three teenagers have been arrested in their shootings.

Police said Sunday’s shooting is still being investigated and they could not answer whether there were signs of forced entry at the residence.

They have yet to name any suspects.

Neighbors said the area is typically quiet and that the shooting is uncharacteristic for the neighborhood.

They said Smith would often have garage sales and sell candy to neighborhood kids.

“She loved everyone and everyone loved her,” Hallet Louis said. “I just don’t know who would want to take her life.”