New Orleans street dance party ends in shooting that leaves one man dead, one hospitalized

This story was published on | The Times-Picayune on Jan. 26, 2013.Image

A weekly street dance party dubbed “Conti Saturday” ended in violence Saturday night when one man was shot in the head and died at the scene. Another man was shot in the neck.

As they have every week for the past few months, about 150 people gathered Saturday night for the party in the 1800 block of Conti Street, partygoers said. A DJ spun rap and bounce music from a pick-up truck carrying subwoofers. At least one NOPD police car blocked off the street, witnesses said.

Suddenly, around 8:40 p.m., a man in a black hooded sweatshirt walked up to a 21-year-old man standing by the DJ. No words were exchanged between the two men before the man in the hooded sweatshirt pulled a gun from his waistband and fired a shot at close range into the victim’s head, witnesses said.

“He fell to the ground, but he was still (alive), so the gunman stood over him and shot him four more times in the chest,” said a 21-year-old woman who was dancing near the victim at the time. She requested anonymity because the shooter remains at large. “We were so close we saw the fire come out of the gun.”

The partygoers scattered instantly, she said. “We just kept running,” the woman said. “I was like, ‘Where are my friends? I got to get the f— out of here.'”

Seconds later, a second man was shot in the neck down the block, closer to the intersection of Conti and North Derbigny streets, witnesses said. That victim was transported to a local hospital, police said. His condition was not known late Saturday.

The murder victim’s body lay next to the DJ’s pick-up truck as police arrived and began investigating.

Family members at the crime scene identified him as Shaquille Cooper. His cousin, who was at the party, said he did not appear to be fighting with anyone.

“He seemed like he was enjoying himself,” said Cooper’s cousin, noting he would come to “Conti Saturday” nearly every week. “He felt comfortable around here.”

Cooper’s aunt said he would be missed by his family — especially his 2-year-old son, to whom he was a good father. “We love him.”

Police ask anyone with information on this shooting to contact NOPD Homicide Section at 504.658.5300 or Crimestoppers at 504.822.1111.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: