NEW ORLEANS — A 19-year-old man opened fire near a popular all-female Mardi Gras parade, killing two people in the latest spate of violence to mar Carnival parties in this city, police said.
John Hicks, of New Orleans, was booked Friday and accused of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. He was also was charged with carrying a firearm on a parade route.
Police spokesman Frank Robertson said the shooting happened when Hicks started arguing with one of the slain men. Police didn't say what they were arguing about. They scheduled a news conference for Friday.
The shooting took place at about 10 p.m. Thursday on St. Charles Avenue on the edge of the city's museum and art districts.
In at least eight of the past 11 years, shootings have marred the city's Mardi Gras celebration.
Angela Matherne, of Thibodaux, was taking in the Muses parade — the traditional kickoff to Carnival weekend — with family when the shooting happened a block away. Matherne told The Associated Press that she didn't hear anything "but saw people running in our direction and police in the opposite."
Matherne said the parade kept going and she didn't realize there had been a shooting until later, when she left the route.
Robertson said officers stationed nearby responded immediately and barriers were set up, but the parade rolled on.
One victim was struck in the chest and died in surgery, Robertson said. The other was struck in the neck and later died at the hospital. Their names have not been released.
A weapon was recovered near the scene of the shooting.
In 2013, four people were wounded in a shooting on Bourbon Street on the Saturday before Mardi Gras.
Video showed many partying in costumes before what police described as an argument between one of the wounded and two other men.
The city will host several parades daily through Mardi Gras, which is Tuesday.