New Orleans: Gunmen opened fire on dozens of people marching in a Mother's Day second-line parade in New Orleans on Sunday, wounding at least 19 people, police said.
Police spokeswoman Remi Braden said in an email that many of the 19 victims were grazed and most of the wounds weren't life-threatening. No deaths were reported.
Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas told reporters that two 10-year-olds - a girl and a boy - were injured in the shooting about 2pm. One was grazed and in a good condition. He said three or four people were in surgery but didn't have their conditions.
Mother's Day shooting: bystanders comfort a victim. Photo: AP Photo/The Times-Picayune
Officers were interspersed with the marchers, which is routine for such events. As many as 400 people joined the procession that stretched for about three blocks, though only half that many were in the immediate vicinity of the shooting, Superintendent Serpas said.
Police saw three suspects running from the scene in the city's 7th Ward neighbourhood. No arrests had been made as of late afternoon.
"From all of our intelligence, we have no reason to believe it was an act of terror, just street violence," Mary Beth Romig, a spokeswoman for the FBI in New Orleans, said. But "certainly today was not a normal day in New Orleans."
Mother's Day Parade shooting in New Orleans leaves at least a dozen wounded.
The incident comes less than a month after twin bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon killed three people and wounded more than 260. In December, a gunman opened fire at a primary school in Connecticut, killing 20 children and six staff members.
Second-line parades are loose processions in which people dance down the street, often following behind a brass band. They can be impromptu or planned and are sometimes described as moving block parties.
A social club called The Original Big 7 organised Sunday's event. The group was founded in 1996 at the Saint Bernard housing projects, its MySpace page says.
The neighbourhood where the shooting happened was a mix of low-income and middle-class row houses, some boarded up. As of last year, the neighbourhood's population was about 60 per cent of its pre-Hurricane Katrina level.
Police vowed to make swift arrests.
"We'll get them. We have good resources in this neighbourhood," Superintendent Serpas said.