Criminologist reacts to mass shooting near French Quarter

Criminologist reacts to mass shooting near French Quarter
Corner of Canal and Bourbon after violent shooting (Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Pallas Snedecor came to New Orleans to enjoy his long weekend and the Bayou Classic. He says the news of a mass shooting near the French Quarter that left at least 10 people injured came as a shock.

“You just can’t have people coming in with nothing else to do other than raise hell," said Snedecor. “Just sadness, it’s just sadness that we as a people are still shooting each other.”

Criminologist and Professor at LSU Health Dr. Peter Scharf says the state of mind someone would have to be in to openly fire a gun into a crowd, especially with police officers just feet away, is a terrifying thought.

“The other risk factor is they’re mentally ill and armed so you have in these crowds people who are mentally ill and armed to the teeth," said Scharf.

But when it comes crime in New Orleans, this event is not indicative of the rest of 2019.

“The context to this is that this has been a spectacular year for murder reduction. So this is an anomaly. The other thing is there were a lot of people from out of town," said Scharf.

Snedecor is one of those people.

“I was here at the first classic in 1974 I believe. I was a senior in college. I had a great time. I come down every year. I have a great time. Bourbon street is not my hangout."

“That street corner has a history,” said Scharf.

Scharf says regardless of the amount of people or what’s happening in the city, the corner of Bourbon and Canal has seen many violent nights.

“There is a history of beefs with guns that have happened right there.”

He says it’s hard to predict or prevent incidents like this one, but Scharf believes there are some hard realities the city must consider.

“In my opinion as a criminologist, the city’s gotta look at that. You know, nobody is offended when you get searched at a Saints game or a Pelicans game. So I think we’re going to have to extend that to a gun free zone for these large events.”

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