French Quarter owners and workers discuss mass shooting - News, Weather & Sports

French Quarter owners and workers discuss mass shooting

As more witnesses to the mass shooting come forward, residents and criminal experts say there needs to be more police presence.

Some were right there when gunfire erupted.

"I heard five shots, and heard five shots more," said Kermit Ramagassa, a French Quarter worker.

Others like Derek Fust were three blocks away from this weekend's mass shooting at Bourbon and Orleans.

"I was out in the courtyard, and it sounded like fireworks," he said.

Fust also saw much of the aftermath, a not uncommon occurrence.

"You see people running by and then the next morning, you see it on the news," he said.

"We need to give more than lip service to community policing," said criminologist John Penny, Ph.D. from Suno.

This was no isolated case. It's the third mass shooting in just over three years on Bourbon Street. But there have been other high profile crimes of late too, including the rape of a woman on Decatur Street ten days ago.

"We had 150 police officer in the 8th district 5-years ago - now we have 100. That's not enough," said Meg Lousteau with the Vieux Carre property owners association.

Sunday night, a group of visitors on Decatur street felt threatened by a mob of four-wheelers who appeared to be violating a number of traffic safety laws. All are indicators of a growing problem.

"We've got a new breed that have no purpose," said Penny.

"Police presence is not enough. I'd like to see two on every corner, because that's the focal point," said French Quarter worker Greg Nazarko.

It's an issue of tremendous concern to the people who live in the French Quarter. There's a dwindling number of residents.

"They're leasing them, and instead of a permanent population you have a more transient population. Those people don't have the same relationships with their neighbor and business that the full time resident does," said Lousteau.

Tourists FOX 8 talked with said they were going to try and enjoy themselves while they are here. However, they made it clear that friends back home fear for their safety.

"We got in at 9:15 a.m. as soon as [we] turned our phone on, people texted 'are you guys ok?'" said Larry Rabur, a tourist from Ohio.

"I'm from Michigan and all my friends and family have called to see if I'm okay," said Nazarko.

Kermit Ramagassa says he had to pull people into his club for safety.

"People came out to help the girl, and he started shooting people randomly. He shot one boy in the head and two in the chest," he said.

Residents say it's time to make a stand.

"I'd rather fight than leave, but it's easy to wanna' leave," said Fust.

But for now he's staying, as he hopes for relief from the violence.

Chief Serpas said there were 25 officers on patrol in the French Quarter Sunday morning, three within a block of the shooting and nine on horseback.

The NOPD has released a video of the suspect.

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