New Orleans parade shooting: Suspect named as Akein Scott

CCTV footage appears to show a man holding a gun near a crowd of people, who quickly disperse

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A teenager is suspected in the shooting of 19 people at a New Orleans Mother's Day parade on Sunday, police say.

Akein Scott, 19, has been identified by a number of people as the gunman, said police superintendent Ronal Serpas.

Three victims of the attack remained in a critical condition on Monday, although they were expected to survive.

New Orleans' understaffed police force is trying to overcome decades of community mistrust to tackle a high rate of gun crime.

Ten men, seven women, a 10-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were wounded by gunfire in Sunday afternoon's incident, according to police.

Start Quote

The people chose to be on the side of the young innocent children shot instead of on the side of a coward”

End Quote Ronal Serpas Police superintendent

It is unclear what prompted the shooting in the city's 7th Ward at a busy second-line parade - an impromptu community procession in which people dance down the street behind an official parade.

Supt Serpas said it was too early to say if Akein Scott was the only suspect. In the aftermath of the attack, police said three suspects had been seen fleeing the area.

"We would like to remind the community and Akein Scott that the time has come for him to turn himself in," Supt Serpas told a news conference on Monday outside police headquarters.

He said police had received a number of tip-offs after announcing a $10,000 (£6,500) reward and releasing blurry surveillance camera images.

"The people chose to be on the side of the young innocent children shot instead of on the side of a coward who shot into the crowd," Supt Serpas said.

The area where the shooting occurred is a poor neighbourhood still recovering from the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas present a photo of 19-year-old Akien Scott New Orleans police released a photo of 19-year-old Akien Scott

It is not the first time gunfire has erupted at a public procession this year in the city known as the Big Easy.

Five people were wounded in a drive-by shooting in January after a Martin Luther King Day parade.

Four were injured when gunfire rang out after an argument in the French Quarter in the days leading up to Mardi Gras.

The city's murder rate in the first three months of 2013 was tame compared with 2012, when 193 homicides were recorded.

New Orleans Police Department has some 1,200 officers, about 300 short of its peak staffing level.

US justice officials have previously found the department had excessively used force.

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