By Harrison Golden | WDSU | December 27, 2021


An Algiers family faces a task they never imagined: planning a seven-year-old girl’s funeral.

The girl, Dillan Burton, was riding in her mother’s car just before 9 p.m. Sunday near Gen. DeGaulle Boulevard when someone shot her. Her mother rushed toward a hospital, where she died.

Relatives remember Burton as an “A” student who planned to dance in New Orleans’ upcoming Mardi Gras parades.

“An innocent victim, a seven-year-old,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said at the scene late Sunday. “What could a seven-year-old have possibly done to be a victim of such a heinous crime as this?”

Burton’s death bookended a violent Christmas weekend in New Orleans, which included three other homicides between Friday and Sunday.

The Christmas weekend shootings brought New Orleans to 217 homicides in 2021, according to the Metropolitan Crime Commission. That’s up 84% from 2019.

Statistician Jeff Asher expects New Orleans will end the calendar year with more homicides in a single year since Hurricane Katrina.

“Each of those numbers is a life lost, a resident, a New Orleanian needlessly killed,” Asher said.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson issued a joint statement Monday regarding Burton’s death:

“We stand in shock over the violence that claimed the life of a 7 year-old child, the day after Christmas. It is unbearably tragic. As a city, as a community — we reject this. How often have we said ‘one is too many?’ This one, alone, is too much. This child deserved better of us. Somebody out there knows who pulled the trigger. We need them to come forward. The NOPD is devoting the full force of our resources to holding this shooter accountable — and we will demand the same of our partners in the Courts and at the DA’s office. This is a time for us to come together. This will not be tolerated by us as leaders of our city, or our people.”

Investigators ask anyone with information on Burton’s death — or any other unsolved homicide in the city — to call CrimeStoppers at 504-822-1111.

Burton’s relatives tell WDSU they plan to hold a memorial balloon release in the near future.