Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Seven hurt in Mardi Gras shooting


Police seal off the scene of the shootings in New Orleans

Seven people - including a baby - have been hurt after a shooting incident at the New Orleans Mardi Gras in the US.

Police lining the parade route on historic St Charles Avenue heard the shots among the crowd at about 1340 local time (1940 GMT).

The shootings happened after the parade's floats had driven past. Police arrested two suspects soon after.

The infant was grazed along the back but was not seriously hurt, said police spokesman Bob Young.

"It sounded like a string of fireworks, so I knew it was more than one shooter," witness Toni Labat told the Associated Press news agency.

"Everybody was petrified. They hit the ground, the floats stopped, everybody on the floats ducked," she said, adding she saw one man dragging himself along the ground and another man bleeding from the mouth, the agency reported.

Those injured in the shooting were three men aged 50, 33 and 20, two young women aged 20 and 17 and a 15-year-old boy, as well as the 20-month-old infant, it was reported.

Two of the men were shot in the stomach and operated on, while the others are said to be in stable conditions with injuries not thought to be life-threatening.

Doctor Jim Parry, a 41-year-old surgeon, was nearby and tended one man who had been shot in the abdomen, AP reported.

"He kept asking me, 'Was I shot? Was I shot?'" he was quoted as saying.

The two men arrested by police were reported to be aged 18 and 20. Three weapons were recovered when they were held, AP reported. No motive for the shootings has yet been determined, police said.

The shootings marred what had been described as a generally peaceful event, which saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the historic heart of New Orleans for a day of street parties.

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