NEW ORLEANS - A Lafayette woman who was shot five times during a mass shooting early Sunday in New Orleans' French Quarter was shielding her nephew from the gunfire, her family said.
KLFY News 10 reported that Brittany Ben and her nephew, Deion Ben, were two of nine people injured in the early morning shooting on the Crescent City's famed Bourbon Street. A 10th victim, Demontris Toliver, died in the shooting.
Toliver, a 25-year-old Baton Rouge tattoo artist who was in town to celebrate his birthday, was shot shortly after he left his hotel room with his fiancee, NOLA.com reported.
Jessie Ben, Brittany Ben's mother and Deion Ben's grandmother, said she received a call around 2 a.m. Sunday that the pair had been shot. She immediately made the 135-mile drive to New Orleans.
“When I got there the doctor told me that my daughter was shot five times, three times in the chest and twice in the arm,” Ben told KLFY. “And my grandson was shot in the groin part and (it) went through his pelvis and broke his pelvic bone.”
Brittany Ben was released from the hospital in New Orleans, but was admitted Sunday evening to a Lafayette hospital, where she was scheduled to undergo surgery on Monday, her mother said. Some of the bullets that struck her remained in her body after the shooting.
“I think it started out as an argument, and my daughter Brittany, she (saw) the guy with the gun and poor baby, she was trying to protect her nephew, pushed him out the way and she caught all the bullets and he caught one,” Jessie Ben said.
She said she is grateful that her daughter and grandson survived the shooting.
“I just want to say I thank God that I still got my child, you know, because I could have gotten a call saying she was dead,” she told the television station.
NOLA.com said that, as of Sunday night, police were still looking for two men suspected in the shooting. Investigators believe that the men were embroiled in an ongoing feud that turned deadly when they ran into one another on Sunday. Neither man is believed to be from New Orleans, police said.
None of those who were injured or killed in the shooting were involved in the dispute.