The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS- A 25-year-old New Orleans police officer was in critical condition Monday after being shot in the face, the police chief said.
"He is in critical condition but he has been talking; he has been somewhat alert," Superintendent Warren Riley said during a brief news conference.
He did not identify the officer, but said he has been on the force for five years.
The shooting happened in the Algiers neighborhood on the West bank of the Mississippi River. One man was quickly arrested, television stations reported. Riley said police were searching for a second.
The officer was rushed to Charity Hospital's temporary trauma unit in Jefferson Parish while a New Orleans police dog team and SWAT unit searched the levee near Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World.
Officers from nearby Gretna and and a Coast Guard helicopter helped with the search.
Riley said the officer was shot at least twice, but a bulletproof vest protected him from one bullet. "He was shot once, if not twice, in the face," the police chief said.
Crime almost disappeared in New Orleans — along with the city's population — immediately after Hurricane Katrina, but has been rising as people returned. There were 13 killings in April, compared to 17 in the three previous months.
Asked if crime is getting worse, Riley said, "Obviously, this is certainly an incident that shows the mentality of some of the people who still reside in this city."
The shooting was at least the second in as many days. A gunfight in eastern New Orleans killed two men Sunday.