I hate this city when…

I read a headline story like this (from the T-P, my emphasis):

Murder is always an act of depravity, but the circumstances coming into focus as police probe the death of Toree Donaldson suggest barbarity almost beyond belief. Apparently his killers had nothing more in mind than target practice last month as they trained an assault rifle on the 19-year-old and chased him screaming through the streets of the Lower 9th Ward.

That residents failed to respond either to the booming assault rifle or to Donaldson’s cries for help as he banged on their doors only deepens the sense of shock among those investigating the crime.

I think I’m going to be f*cking sick.

Donaldson’s bullet-riddled body was found facedown Nov. 23 near Joseph Hardin Elementary School, the school where as a mentally challenged child he had once struggled to keep up academically, his family said.

In the moments before his death, members of the New Orleans Police Department’s 5th District have learned, the 19-year-old, who was studying hard to pass the LEAP test so he could graduate from Sarah T. Reed High School in May, ran for his life for about five city blocks, beating on doors and begging for help.

Ammunition from his attackers’ high-powered assault rifle repeatedly ripped through his head and body shortly after 11 a.m. just two days before Thanksgiving near the intersection of St. Maurice Avenue and North Tonti Street.

So ripped up was Donaldson’s body that morticians would not allow his mother to cornrow her son’s hair one last time. They also asked the family not to touch the victim’s body at the funeral, fearing any bump would disturb his sieve-like flesh.

Police have had little help in identifying those responsible for Donaldson’s slaying. Although the crime took place in daylight hours and dozens of people were in their homes, no one has come forward to offer help, [Lt. Bruce] Adams said.

It would have been hard to miss the boom of gunfire from the rifle used to kill Donaldson, which Adams described as “cannon-like.”

“If you ever hear the sound of a .223 assault rifle in a neighborhood, it echoes for blocks,” he said.

And then there were the screams.

What leads Adams to the horrifying possibility that Donaldson’s death was a gratuitous act — a killing for the sheer thrill of killing — was the young man’s vulnerability and complete lack of involvement in the drug culture or life of the streets.

“The entire route, he was banging on doors and screaming for people to help him,” Adams said. “We know that this was an unarmed man unable to defend himself. These people cut him down so viciously.”

Adams said he thinks Donaldson was targeted because he was learning disabled and known to shy from confrontations, and therefore considered an easy mark.

By far the most harrowing, horrible and depressing local story I’ve read all year. Sadly, there were plenty to choose from.

4 Comments so far

  1. Beth (unregistered) on December 23rd, 2004 @ 4:03 pm

    I found this link http://www.morganquitno.com/cit05pop.htm

    on the NYC blog. New Orleans ranks 8th most dangerous overall, and 5th most dangerous in cities with populations of 500,000 or more. I didn’t investigate all the criteria used to get these rankings, but it’s still something to think about.


  2. Scott (unregistered) on December 23rd, 2004 @ 4:25 pm

    New Orleans has been a very dangerous place to live for the last fifteen years. This story is nothing new. Sad, yes, but not new.

    And, I certainly wouldn’t open *my* door if I lived in the lower 9th ward and heard an assault rifle being fired outside, no matter how desperate the victim’s pleas for help were. Sorry.


  3. Max Sparber (unregistered) on December 26th, 2004 @ 8:47 pm

    Too bad. I am of the opionion that those who were in a position to help and did nothing


  4. simon (unregistered) on October 11th, 2005 @ 9:45 am

    Your country really sucks, if we measured success by our depravity, key performance by the number of people in jail, and GDP by selfishness, then USA would still be number 1, you can have it



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