New Orleans—A 19-year-old man with a lengthy juvenile record was arrested Thursday in the shooting deaths of five teenagers last month, a crime that brought National Guard convoys rumbling back into town and put a spotlight on increasing violence in the city.
Michael Anderson, of New Orleans, was booked on five counts of first-degree murder, city Police Chief Warren Riley said at a news conference. He was believed to be the lone gunman and has a juvenile criminal record that includes nine felony arrests, Riley said.
The five teens were killed before dawn on June 17 as they sat in or stood near a sports utility vehicle. All five were trapped in a hail of gunfire and died at the scene.
Officials have said they believe the shootings were drug-related or some kind of retaliation attack.
The deaths brought national attention to the city’s spike in crime since Hurricane Katrina scattered its residents Aug. 29.
New Orleans—New Orleans police on Thursday charged a 19-year-old man with the gun slaying last month of five teens that sparked a panic about rising crime in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Michael Anderson killed five teens who were driving a sport utility vehicle through a central section of the city shortly before dawn on June 17, police said. Two managed to exit the truck but none escaped the scene, found littered with bullet casings.
“They were in the car and I can tell you that the driver was the first person that was shot,” said Police Chief Warren Riley, announcing police arrested Anderson after a tip from residents.
Crime has risen this year, after an initial fall-off. There have been 62 murders to date, versus 139 last year, police said. That is a drop in absolute terms, but only about half of the city’s population has returned.
National Guard troops arrived to back up the hard-pressed police days after the multiple slaying and have been ordered to stay for the summer, patrolling largely abandoned sections of the city hurt most by the storm so that police can focus on trouble spots.
Drug sellers returning to abandoned sections of New Orleans moved into more populated areas, setting off turf wars, Riley said. Four people were killed in a separate incident north of the city in late June. But turf wars are decreasing, Riley said, while citizens are calling police more often.
“Citizens do not want the city to get to the pre-Katrina type of crime and I think people are standing up a little bit more,” he said.