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Woman dies in Bourbon street shooting; man questioned by police

NEW ORLEANS - A 21-year-old woman, who was among 10 people injured by gunfire during a weekend shooting in New Orleans, died Wednesday.

Hours later, a man identified by Louisiana police as a "person of interest" in the shooting turned himself in and was jailed on unrelated charges.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Brittany Thomas, of Hammond, La., died at University Interim Hospital in New Orleans, where she was taken after Sunday's shooting on Bourbon Street. A spokesman for the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office confirmed the woman's death. The specifics of her injuries remain unclear.

Just hours after Thomas' death was announced, 20-year-old Justin Odom was booked into the Jefferson Parish jail on shoplifting and traffic-related charges, New Orleans Police Department Officer Hilal Williams said.

"Our detectives questioned him in the presence of his attorney," Williams said.

Odom was not booked on any charges related to the shooting, which happened at about 2:45 a.m. Sunday, as tourists walked along Bourbon Street - the historic street of century-old, neon-bedecked buildings, housing bars, restaurants, shops and strip clubs - in the heart of the city's oldest neighborhood.

In addition to Odom, police said they were looking for one of his associates named Josh or Joe, who is also described as a person of interest.

Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson spoke at a news conference Wednesday to discuss Mayor Landrieu's request for a permanent contingent of troopers to help with law enforcement in New Orleans.

Landrieu had asked for the extra police presence to help the city's police force following the early Sunday shooting in which ten people, most of them visitors to the city, were hit.

Three of the shooting victims were reported in stable condition Wednesday: a 35-year-old man from Mississippi, a 19-year-old Arkansas woman, and an 18-year-old New Orleans man.

LSU Interim Hospital spokeswoman Siona LaFrance said Wednesday that a 21-year-old Australian woman was released from the hospital.

Other victims, which were not hospitalized, included two New Orleans-area men; a teenage girl and a woman from Alabama; and a Florida man.

The Australian woman, identified by The West Australian as Amy Williams, of Mount Hawthorn, a suburb of Perth in Western Australia, did not immediately respond Wednesday to messages sent via her Facebook page or "Repair Amy's smile," a Facebook page created to raise money to reconstruct her teeth.

She told the newspaper that all or part of a bullet went in through her right cheek and out through her top lip, knocking out most of her teeth, burning her gums and requiring 30 stitches in her tongue and a metal support for the roof of her mouth.

Police Chief Ronal Serpas has said that nine officers -- four on foot and five on horseback -- were assigned to Bourbon Street at that time and officers arrived within seconds.

Even so, Serpas and Landrieu both said they would like to see the city police force, now around 1,200 after years of attrition, beefed up to around 1,600.

  • Crimesider Staff

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