The shocking parade shooting that brought New Orleans residents together has now turned some of its public officials against one another as the city confronts its longtime crime epidemic.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told local judges to "wake up" Tuesday for letting Mother's Day parade shooting suspect Akein Scott roam free on bond at the time although he was facing a felony weapons charge in a different case.
The shooting wounded 19 people, three of whom were still in critical condition.
Scott is only 19, but he was already facing a pile of trouble before he was named a key suspect in Sunday's mass shooting in the 7th Ward during the annual Mother's Day parade.
Scott had been arrested March 5 on suspicion of having heroin and a stolen gun; he was ultimately charged with one count of carrying a gun while carrying drugs.
His bond was set for $15,000, which he posted, earning his release while the case proceeded.
Landrieu expressed outrage that the bond had been set so low by an Orleans Parish judge.
“I think it was a mistake. I sent a letter to the judges a year ago telling them the rules of the game had changed" and that bonds for felony gun charges should be set no lower than $35,000, Landrieu said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
“Unfortunately, some judges in this building have ignored that request," Landrieu said, addressing the media in front of Orleans Parish Criminal District Courthouse. "He may have gotten out on bond anyway, but it is important for us to send a clear message … that we are serious about violent crimes."
Scott had also been arrested in February 2012 on suspicion of having a stolen gun, but parish prosecutors declined to press charges in that case.
New Orleans Police Supt. Ronal W. Serpas said Tuesday that officials suspected Scott was involved with gangs and that there was “no reason" to believe he had fled New Orleans.