Four people sustained grievous injuries in a shootout on the crowded Bourbon Street, where revelers partied ahead of the Mardi Gras annual carnival in New Orleans, Saturday night, police said.
Two men and two women were wounded in the shootout that occurred around 9.30 p.m. local time, the Associated Press has reported, quoting New Orleans police spokesman Frank B. Robertson.
One male victim is identified to be in a critical stage and is undergoing surgery, while the condition of the three other victims is stable, Robertson said.
Bourbon Street was overcrowded with thousands of tourists and revelers celebrating the last weekend before the Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday), when the shooting occurred. The name and other details of the victims are yet to be revealed.
Police said they are investigating into the incident to identify the suspects and their motive.
"They're just piecing together what happened," Robertson said.
The witnesses told local media that there was commotion on the corner of Bourbon Street and they saw people screaming and running away.
"Everyone immediately started running and the cops immediately started running towards where people were running from," Patrick Clay, 21, an LSU student, told the Times-Picayune. "I was with a group of about seven people and at that point we all just kind of grasped hands and made our way through the crowd as soon as possible," Clay said.
Bourbon Street and the French Quarter are thronged by over a million people in the 12-days festivity period ahead of the Fat Tuesday. Revelers, dancers, musicians and youngsters take part in the processions with colorful costumes and masks. Several parades with huge floats are a major attraction of the carnival and people throw beads, masks and small toys towards the revelers during the parades. During the carnival, authorities control the massive crowds on jam-packed streets on a horse patrol.
Floats and parades do not enter the French Quarter as the streets are too narrow for the floats to pass through. However, revelers head to the French quarter, which is famous for the strip clubs and pubs at the end of the parade.
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