Infant, 6 others shot at Mardi Gras parade

Police take two teens into custody


NEW ORLEANS

A Mardi Gras parade erupted into chaos on Fat Tuesday when a series of gunshots struck seven people, including a toddler. The child was not seriously injured, and two suspects were in custody, police said.

The shootings happened near the Garden District about 1:40 p.m. after the last major parade of the celebration, Rex, had ended. A stream of truck floats that follow the parade were passing by when gunfire broke out.

"It sounded like a string of fireworks, so I knew it was more than one shooter," said Toni Labat, 29, a limousine company manager. She was with her two children, a 2-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl.

"Everybody was petrified. They hit the ground, the floats stopped; everybody on the floats ducked," Labat said.

Labat said one man dragged himself on the ground screaming for help after being wounded and another man was gasping for air and bleeding from his mouth.

Police spokesman Bob Young said the victims - three men ages 50, 33 and 20, two young women ages 20 and 17 and a 15-year-old boy - were taken to area hospitals. The conditions of all the victims were not immediately available, but Young said the 20-month-old child was grazed by a bullet and not seriously hurt.

Two men, 19-year-old Mark Brooks and 18-year-old Louis Lazone, both of New Orleans, were each booked with seven counts of attempted first-degree murder. Brooks also faces a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Young said .

Two male suspects, ages 18 and 20, were in police custody, and the shooting victims were recovering.