Police: Fatal Lower 9th Ward shootings not a random attack

It was just before 8 p.m. Sunday when a Honda began to circle the 5400 block of Burgundy Street. Those who noticed it began to wonder if something was wrong.

On the last pass, the car stopped and a man hopped out. Without warning, he showered a house with bullets, completely disregarding all bystanders, including a number of small children playing on the porch, police and witnesses said Monday.

The car then sped away toward Andry Street.

“We’re less than 24 hours into this investigation, and we already have significant reason to believe ... that this case involves drugs and guns,” Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said at an afternoon news conference. “We do not believe at this time this was a random attack.”

The gunfire killed 16-year-old Jasmine Anderson and 33-year-old Terrance McBride, whom police described as the intended target. The gunmen also wounded five others, including a 2-year-old boy and a 4-year-old boy. Both boys were in critical condition at the hospital, as was a 32-year-old woman.

Neighbors and relatives of Anderson declined to speculate on the cause of the shooting, but Serpas said evidence points to some sort of feud between the gunman and McBride.

“We know that he (McBride) had a gun and we know that the person that shot him was looking just to shoot him,” Serpas said. “However, that did not stop these other young people from being injured or hurt.”

Police said witnesses reported the car — a dark, late-model vehicle, possibly a Honda Accord with possibly a Louisiana commercial license plate — contained several men.

Two of those wounded — a 13-year-old girl and a 37-year-old woman — were released from the hospital on Monday, Serpas said.

Anderson’s relatives were distraught Monday and trying to cope with the sudden loss.

“I don’t know what happened last night,” Terrel Reese, the teen’s mother, said as tears rolled down her cheeks. “All I know is my child left out the door and now my child is dead.”

Witnesses described seeing the bystanders running, ducking and diving to try to dodge the bullets.

Anderson’s younger sister said she heard the gunfire from inside the family home and rushed outside after it stopped. She spied Anderson on the ground and raced to her side, but she got no response when she tried to talk to her.

Reese was steps behind her daughter and was stunned by the sight.

“The only thing I saw is my child bust wide open on the ground,” she said.

The girl, who on Monday was to start her eighth-grade year at ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy in Uptown, was described as a happy teenager who liked to spend time with friends and dance.

“There’s a homeroom group that shared homeroom with Jasmine last year. It was an all-girls group, so they feel a special sort of connection, and so the kids especially in that homeroom are having a hard time, as they should,” Kevin Guitterrez, president of ReNEW Schools, told WWL-TV. “Overall, she was ... a typically involved and active student, who had lots of friends here.”

The school is dealing with its second student death in recent months.

In May, Miquial Jackson, 14, died after he was shot in the head while walking in Central City.

Social workers are available for students, Guitterrez said.

McBride has a criminal record dating back to 1999, with prior arrests on counts including felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, aggravated burglary and various drug charges. He also has a conviction for possession with the intent to distribute heroin.

He was arrested in January on gun and drug charges, including possession of a firearm or weapon by a felon and distribution of heroin, according to court records. He recently pleaded not guilty to those charges, court records show.

Sunday was the latest in a string of fatal shootings over a bloody summer that has seen the city’s murder rate notch upward after an encouraging first quarter that came on the heels of a year with the lowest murder total in several decades.

Through the end of July, New Orleans had recorded at least 82 murders in 2014, according to a list maintained by The New Orleans Advocate. That’s a drop of 8.5 percent from the first seven months of 2013.

But that number is less encouraging when broken down. The first quarter of 2014 saw the number of murders fall by 28 percent compared to the same period in 2013. However, the last four months have been deadlier this year than the same stretch last year, with 53 killings between April 1 and Aug. 1, compared with 46 during the same period in 2013.

Crimestoppers has increased its reward to $5,000 in this case.

Anyone with information is asked to contact homicide Detective Timothy Bender at (504) 658-5300 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

Staff writer Gordon Russell contributed to this report.

Follow Danny Monteverde on Twitter, @DCMonteverde.