Two police officers shot in New Orleans ‘ambush’ by mentally-disturbed man in a pedicab

Harriet Alexander
·3 min read
The French Quarter of New Orleans, site of Friday’s shooting, is pictured on Wednesday as Hurricane Zeta hit (Getty Images)
The French Quarter of New Orleans, site of Friday’s shooting, is pictured on Wednesday as Hurricane Zeta hit (Getty Images)

Two police officers are in hospital after being shot in the French Quarter of New Orleans in what officials described as an “ambush”.

One of the officers was shot in the face and a second has minor injuries from the Friday afternoon shooting.

They were in their patrol car in the heart of New Orleans’ tourist district when a passenger in a pedicab opened fire.

The suspect was quickly arrested and was taken to hospital “after suffering a possible medical episode at the time of his arrest,” and reportedly trying to bite people.

The officer shot in the face is in a serious but stable condition, and is “responsive”.

The bullet lodged in his skull but he was able to walk into the hospital, holding his left cheek, reported.

“This is a dark day for our officers so I want to ask you to keep our officers in your prayers,” said Shaun Ferguson, chief of New Orleans police department.

Katy Bea of Fawkes Fine Art told ABC News she was in the store at the time of the shooting and witnessed the incident.

“It was horrifying. I knew immediately it was a gun and made my husband run to the back bathroom with me,” she said.

Gabriel Shaffer, an artist who owns a gallery on that block of Royal, told he heard the wounded officer get out of the vehicle while moaning.

"I could clearly hear him say, 'Oh, my God, somebody just took my life!'" Shaffer said. "It was pretty awful."

Douglas Mackar, who was in a building overlooking the scene of the shooting, said he heard the gunshots and ran to the window. He said he saw the driver of the pedicab crash into the sidewalk and run for cover.

Mackar said he ran from the window to check on his girlfriend, and by the time he returned, the wounded officer had already been whisked away to the hospital. 

"Whoever was first on the scene got him loaded up and out of here within seconds," Mackar said. 

The identity of the suspect has not been officially released, but a law enforcement source told the detained man was Donnell Linwood Hansel, 45. 

It was unclear what charges he would face.

The officer wounded by gunfire in this incident is a four-year veteran of the department, while the officer who suffered abrasions is a 16-year veteran of the department, authorities said.

Ferguson and Mayor LaToya Cantrell both visited the wounded officers in hospital.

“A retired Army veteran with medical experience was working in a nearby store and helped with the medical treatment of our officers until fellow officers arrived at the scene,” said Ferguson. 

“We want to thank her, as well as citizens who helped to point out the perpetrator to officers responding to this scene.”

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