Horrible tales of “rape, murder and trigger happy guards” are coming from New Orleans. Refugees are recanting stories of utter lawlessness within the Superdome and Convention Center.
This is insane, absolutely insane! I don’t know what it’s going to take to get a grip on this, but it’s beyond anarchy at this point. The President has failed his people, the President has failed his nation.
“Several residents of the impromptu shantytown recounted two horrific incidents where those charged with keeping people safe had killed them instead.”
In one, a young man was run down and then shot by a New Orleans police officer, in another a man seeking help was gunned down by a National Guard soldier, witnesses said.
Police here refused to discuss or confirm either incident. National Guard spokesman Lt. Col Pete Schneider said “I have not heard any information of a weapon being discharged.”
“They killed a man here last night,” Steve Banka, 28, told Reuters. “A young lady was being raped and stabbed. And the sounds of her screaming got to this man and so he ran out into the street to get help from troops, to try to flag down a passing truck of them, and he jumped up on the truck’s windshield and they shot him dead.”
Wade Batiste, 48, recounted another tale of horror.
“Last night at 8 p.m. they shot a kid of just 16. He was just crossing the street. They ran him over, the New Orleans police did, and then they got out of the car and shot him in the head,” Batiste said.
The young man’s body lay in the street by the Convention Center’s entrance on Saturday morning, covered in a black blanket, a stream of congealed blood staining the street around him. Nearby his family sat in shock.
A member of that family, Africa Brumfield, 32, confirmed the incident but declined to be quoted about it, saying her family did not wish to discuss it. But she spoke of general conditions here.
“There is rapes going on here. Women cannot go to the bathroom without men. They are raping them and slitting their throats. They keep telling us the buses are coming but they never leave,” she said through tears.
Troops guarding the Convention Center “refused to confirm that and threatened to beat reporters seeking access to the makeshift morgue” set up inside. There are reports of up to 22 bodies of adults and children stored inside the building.
One police officer told Reuters there were 100 people in a makeshift morgue at the Superdome, mostly people who died of heat exhaustion, and that six babies had been born there since last Saturday, when people arrived to take shelter.
At the arena, too, there was much talk of bedlam after dark.
“We found a young girl raped and killed in the bathroom,” one National Guard soldier told Reuters. “Then the crowd got the man and they beat him to death.”
Frustrated Guardsmen afraid to speak on the record:
One National Guard soldier who asked not to be named for fear of punishment from his commanding officer said of the lack of medical attention at the center, “They (the Bush administration) care more about Iraq and Afghanistan than here.”