NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Fifteen people have been indicted on state charges linked to 15 killings, including the fatal shooting of a 5-year-old girl, in a case that New Orleans authorities touted Thursday as the broadest of its kind in the city's history.
The 51-count indictment secured Wednesday by Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office includes charges of racketeering, second-degree murder and perjury. Investigators arrested several suspects early Thursday, but two of the 15 defendants remained at large, Cannizzaro's office said.
One of the defendants, Tyron Harden, was arrested last month on charges stemming from a May 2012 shooting at a birthday party that killed 5-year-old Brianna Allen and 33-year-old Shawanna Pierce.
Cannizzaro's office said the indictment is the product of a yearlong probe by a multi-agency gang unit and is believed to be the broadest "street gang indictment" ever handed up in New Orleans.
"The people of New Orleans are witnessing a rebirth of their criminal justice system," Cannizzaro said in a statement.
The indictment claims the defendants are members or associates of a gang called the "110'ers," which authorities described as an umbrella group of several smaller neighborhood gangs.
Several defendants are charged in 10 killings between 2008 and 2013, including the deaths of Allen and Pierce. Five other killings are listed in the indictment as "overt acts in furtherance of the racketeering conspiracy." The indictment identifies a few of the victims as rival gang members.
Cannizzaro said racketeering cases are more difficult to prosecute but provide "a more complete picture of the scope of a defendant's criminal conduct."
"My office will continue to employ innovative prosecutorial techniques to fight the violence on our streets," he said.