A man and his 7-month-old son were fatally shot in an apparent ambush near a New Orleans bridge spanning the Mississippi River, and authorities are offering a $15,000 reward for tips leading to whoever shot them.
Gang activity may be behind the shooting of DeShawn Butler, 25, and his son, DeShawn Kinard, Police Chief Ronal Serpas said Thursday.
The FBI and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are contributing $5,000 each to the reward, with $5,000 from the Crime Stoppers organization.
Police said someone opened fire Wednesday night on the black Honda Accord in which Butler and Kinard were back-seat passengers. The driver then pulled over near the toll plaza of the Crescent City Connection bridge, where the man was pronounced dead. The baby died later at a hospital.
The gunfire is believed to have come from a black sport utility vehicle with at least two people inside, Serpas said at a news conference. Butler was hit four times; his son, once.
Police do not have a named suspect but believe the shooter knew Butler. Police would not say whether Butler had been armed.
"Our multi-agency gang unit has been investigating a dispute between two groups known as the Fischer Fools and the Hot Block," Serpas said. Both gangs are active in the Algiers neighborhood, across the river from downtown New Orleans, where the shooting occurred.
Police initially reported that the shooting occurred on the bridge.
DeShan Kinard was in a car seat beside the man, police spokesman Frank B. Robertson III said. He said two women — the driver and a front-seat passenger — were not hurt.
"I've been crossing under yellow tape for decades, and it's difficult and disturbing every single time. But it was heartbreaking to see what was clearly a bullet hole in the side of a baby's car seat," Serpas said earlier, in a news release.
He called on anyone with information about the case to step forward.
"It's the right thing to do. And it's our most effective way to put an end to senseless violence," he said.
The baby's death by gunfire was the third such incident in New Orleans since late August, when 13-month-old Londyn Samuels was fatally shot as she was being held by an 18-year-old baby sitter, who survived. In early September, gunmen opened fire on a New Orleans house, killing an 11-year-old girl, Arabian Gayles.