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New Orleans restaurant employee was target of fatal shooting, police say

By Jay Croft and Paradise Afshar, CNN

The New Orleans Police Department said an employee of the popular Mandina’s Restaurant was the intended target of a fatal shooting Friday night near the annual Jazz Fest.

Officers responded to a call of shots being fired in the 3800 block of Canal Street about 8:20 p.m., the New Orleans Police Department said in a news release.

The employee, who was outside the restaurant at the time of the shooting, was fatally shot, and a female victim, who was inside the establishment, was injured, according to New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Michelle Woodfork.

“The male victim, who is an employee of the restaurant was the intended target in this incident, and the female victim had no direct relation to those who perpetrated this crime,” Woodfork said during a news conference Saturday.

The woman was taken to a hospital where she was in stable condition, police said.

Since the shooting took place on the opening day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Woodfork said she wanted to assure the public and tourists it was an “isolated incident,” which did not occur in the immediate vicinity of the festival.

The female victim is a tourist from Chicago who was in town for the festival and at the restaurant to celebrate a birthday of a friend, Woodfork said.

Woodfork said the investigation into the shooting remains ongoing.

Restaurant locked down after shooting

A Mandina’s customer texted CNN affiliate WDSU that everyone inside dropped to the floor as gunshots were heard.

A woman on the streetcar at the time told WDSU the streetcar was stopped and police told everyone to get off but did not say why.

Customers left the restaurant after a 90-minute lockdown, the station reported.

An armed security guard was present at the restaurant when the shooting took place, and did return fire when the shooting occurred, according to Woodfork.

CNN has reached out to Mandina’s Restaurant, a 90-year-old institution, for comment. It has drawn generations of locals and visitors and is known for its Creole-Italian food and casual atmosphere, said Times-Picayune restaurant writer Ian McNulty, who lives in the area.

“The neighborhood comes alive during Jazz Fest,” he said. “It would be busy on any Friday night, but especially after Jazz Fest.”

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CNN’s Jessica Flynn contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: cnn-national

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