Abdul Aziz believes he was standing right next to a shooter Sunday when gunmen opened fire at a Mother’s Day parade in New Orleans, injuring 19 people.
“Everyone around me, except me, was shot,” he said. “I was pretty fortunate to get away.”
Aziz, 33, a photojournalist, was at the second-line parade when gunfire broke out at the corner of Frenchman Street and North Villere Street.
Second-line parades, which involve dancing and brass bands, are a New Orleans tradition. They happen most every Sunday, except during the hottest months in summer, according to Aziz.
“We turned off of a main thoroughfare to a smaller residential street, and that’s when the shots rang out. I was standing, I believe, right next to the shooter. I saw muzzle flash, but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see who the shooter was,” he said.
People panicked and ran.
Aziz, who has worked in the Middle East, started taking pictures.
He sent those images to CNN iReport.
“It’s a little jarring when you see these types of things on the home front,” he said.
“I’m sad. I love this city. We’re plagued by crime, and it’s just not getting better no matter what we do.”
According to police, 19 people were injured in the shooting, including two children. Ten men and seven women were among the victims.
The children suffered graze wounds. Other injuries ranged from minor to severe.
Shots were fired from different guns, and officers saw three suspects running from the scene, police said.
One of the suspects was described as an African-American male, approximately 18 to 22 years old, wearing a white T-shirt and blue jean shorts.
No one is in custody.
“This is an extremely unusual occurrence, and we’re confident that we will make swift arrests,” said Remi Braden, a police spokeswoman.
Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas told CNN affiliate WVUE that it appears “two or three people just, for a reason unknown to us, started shooting at, towards, or in the crowd.”
He asked anyone with information to call authorities.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu echoed that request, challenging the community to get involved.
“It’s important for us, as I have said, to change the culture of death on the streets of New Orleans to a culture of life, and it’s going to take an all-hands-on-deck approach,” he said.
“These kinds of incidents are not going to go unanswered. We’re going to be very, very aggressive. There were hundreds of people out there today, so somebody knows who did this.”
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