05/16/2013

Suspect in La. parade shooting arrested on 20 charges

Mother's Day parade incident left 19 people wounded; 19-year-old Akein Scott was identified from surveillance video

By Kevin McGill
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — The suspect in a Mother's Day parade shooting that wounded 19 people faces 20 charges of attempted second-degree murder, according to jail records.

Akein Scott, 19, was arrested Wednesday night in the Little Woods section of New Orleans. He was already facing a gun and drug possession charge and was out on bond at the time of Sunday's shooting at a parade through a neighborhood near the French Quarter.

The mass shooting showed how far the city has to go to shake a persistent culture of violence that belies New Orleans' festive image.

It was not immediately clear why 20 counts were filed when authorities have said 19 people were injured. Police were expected to release more details on the case Thursday.

In the neighborhood where the gunfire shattered the festive parade known as a second line, residents awoke Thursday to the news that the manhunt apparently had ended. Police had been searching for Scott since identifying him as a suspect Monday from surveillance video.

Courtney Moles, whose apartment overlooks the shooting site, said she didn't feel her safety was in jeopardy while police searched the city.

"I didn't really think he would come back. It's more personal than that," she said. "He wasn't going to that second line to make national news. He was probably settling some kind of score."

Moles, 24, said the arrest underscores the city's crisis of violence among its young people. "His life is over now, too," she said of Scott.

Police have not established a motive and haven't said whether they know the identity of the shooter's target. Officials initially said three people were spotted running away from the shooting scene, but Scott has been the only suspect identified publicly.

Investigators launched an intense search for Scott, with police Superintendent Ronal Serpas urging him to surrender at a news conference Monday and warning the teen that "we know more about you than you think we know." At one point, SWAT team members and U.S. marshals served a search warrant at one location but did not find Scott.

Police offered a $10,000 reward in the case, and investigators received several tips after images from the surveillance camera were released.

Police also previously said Scott had an arrest record involving drug and weapon charges. Court records show some had been dropped, but he was facing a felony charge of illegally carrying a weapon while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance. Scott was scheduled for a court hearing on motions related to that case Thursday. It was not immediately known whether he would be present for that hearing or whether it would be rescheduled.

The video released Monday showed a crowd gathered for the parade suddenly scattering in all directions, with some falling to the ground. They appear to be running from a man in a white T-shirt and dark pants who turns and runs out of the picture.

Gun violence has flared at two other city celebrations this year. Five people were wounded in a drive-by shooting in January after a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, and four were wounded in a shooting after an argument in the French Quarter in the days leading up to Mardi Gras. Two teens were arrested in connection with the MLK Day shootings; three men were arrested and charged in the Mardi Gras shootings.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press

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