Five people were wounded and an armed robbery suspect is dead after an exchange of gunfire with police officers in downtown New Orleans Sunday night.
The New Orleans Police Department says officers confronted a person of interest in an armed robbery investigation around 6:43 p.m. near Canal Street and Elk Place. Police say the unidentified man then pulled out a gun and started shooting at the officers.
Five people waiting at a nearby bus stop were wounded, police say. One victim was listed in critical condition at University Medical Center as of Sunday night. The four other victims were listed in stable condition. Authorities did not release the victims’ names but a spokesperson for New Orleans EMS did say a 17-year-old was wounded.
The exchange of gunfire spilled over two blocks to the intersection of Elk Place and Tulane Avenue. At that intersection, Louisiana State Police troopers exchanged gunfire with the suspect, wounding him. The man was also taken to UMC where he later died.
Police say the man was a person of interest in two armed robberies that took place last week. Those robberies happened in 1700 block of Clio Street and at the intersection of Carondelet and Josephine streets.
Despite initial reports from witnesses, no NOPD officers were wounded in the shooting. One NOPD officer received minor injuries when his vehicle flipped over in Uptown while responding to the scene in the Central Business District.
Police quickly closed off Canal Street and Elk Place and parts of Tulane Avenue for hours as part of a sprawling scene. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority temporarily suspended some streetcar serviced because of the police activity.
Minutes after the shooting was reported on Canal Street, officers also responded to another shooting death in New Orleans East.
There are still many unanswered questions following the shooting. Authorities have not yet released the names of the shooting suspect or the victims. It is also unclear whether the bystanders wounded in the shooting were struck by gunfire from the suspect or police.
“It is too early in the investigation to make that determination about who was struck by any bullet at this time,” NOPD Superintendent Sean Ferguson said.
Ferguson said NOPD Force Investigation Team and Louisiana State Police are leading a joint investigation into the shooting. Ferguson said an independent monitor is also investigating and the FBI has been notified.
Ferguson said the NOPD officers involved in the shooting will be placed on desk duty as the investigation continues, per department policy.