Surveillance video shows moments leading up to fatal French Quarter shooting
What started as an argument ended with a man dead on the street Sunday night in the French Quarter.
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - An argument captured on surveillance video led to a deadly shooting in which the suspect casually walked away from the victim as he bled out Sunday night in the French Quarter.
It happened on the corner of Burgundy and Conti Streets, outside of the Three-Legged Dog bar on Jan. 9.
Around 10:30 p.m., two men can be seen on surveillance video outside of the bar exchanging words. Cars are driving by and the mood is tense; the two are in each other’s faces, but neither has exchanged blows just yet.
As a woman looks on from down the block, the victim, wearing a black shirt, goes in to punch the suspect.
The suspect, wearing a blue or gray jacket, shoots the man as he’s trying to punch him. The shooter then casually walks away, while the woman speed walks away.
The New Orleans Police Department is investigating the shooting, and detectives were canvassing the area on Monday morning.
The victim, identified by family members as Russell Ricou, 41, of Baton Rouge, is remembered as “everyone’s little brother” who “had a genuine care for people.”
“My family is deeply saddened,” brother Denis Ricou posted on Facebook. “Just keep his memory alive in your thoughts.”
Ricou says they will hold a memorial service in lieu of a funeral.
Nearby business owners and residents said the area has been attracting more and more crime. One business owner said he’s seen shootings, carjackings, robberies, and drug deals on the corner. In some instances, he says he’s had to go outside himself and chase people off.
Recently, the French Quarter Management District has been ready to put officers on the streets, thanks to the collection of a special sales tax to help fund additional police officers in the Quarter and $600,000 in funding from New Orleans & Company to supplement the officers for six months.
But the plan has been put on pause, as the city administration reviews it for compliance with the city’s Home Rule Charter and NOPD’s consent decree.
“About a month ago, the administration asked us to slow down while they worked through some things, wanting to understand if there was any potential conflict with the consent decree,” said Christian Pendleton with the French Quarter Management District. “We have tried to be a very good partner to NOPD and listen to their concerns, and we’re trying to address them as best we can.”
NOPD has operated under the consent decree since 2012. The consent decree is a broad array of separate tasks and goals that the department must align with in order to receive federal funding.
The Department of Justice issued a report criticizing the NOPD in 2011 for unconstitutional conduct. Since then, the department has been implementing changes.
Neighbors in the area said they understand the need for analysis, but that they can’t wait much longer.
“The employees, the residents, the business owners, they’re getting very anxious,” Pendleton said. “They want these patrols on the street, and I think we’ve got to do it as fast as we can. We want to do it right, we certainly want to be responsible, but we can’t listen to many more requests for delays. We’ve just got to get this done.”
When reached for an update on the status of the patrols, New Orleans Communications Director Beau Tidwell provided the following statement:
“The City of New Orleans and the NOPD welcome the much-needed additional public safety resources the French Quarter Management District has brought to the table. What was initially proposed by the FQMD and NOCO is not in alignment with either the Home Rule Charter or the federal consent decree. We will therefore need to find an alternative arrangement to the one that was proposed. We are working with FQMD to deploy these resources as quickly as possible within the parameters of the law.”
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