By David Jones | WVUE | April 29, 2022
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – A man who was gunned down Thursday evening while walking home in the Irish Channel marks the city’s 92nd homicide victim since the start of the year. If the trends continue, New Orleans could be looking at its bloodiest year since the 1990s.
MacArthur Spellman, 24, was walking back home from the gas station just after 11 p.m. on Thursday. On the 500 block of Second Street, he was approached, gunned down and left on the side of the street.
His mother, who didn’t want to go on camera, said Spellman was a fun-loving person who enjoyed his family’s company and loved to play basketball. He had lost several friends to gun violence, even recently, his mother said.
Spellman’s death marks the 92nd of the year so far, according to data from the Metropolitan Crime Commission.
“The numbers so far have been pretty stark,” said Jeff Asher, city council’s data analyst. “If you look back to 2019, there were 34 murders through April. This year we’re up above 90.”
Asher, co-founder of AH Datalytics, said this year has been particularly bloody. The last time the first four months of the year have yielded this many homicides was April 2005.
If the trend holds, New Orleans could be looking at its’ deadliest year since the 1990s, when the population of the city was roughly 100,000 people higher.
“I think [this is] only the third or fourth time since the late 90s that we’ve been above 90 murders through April,” Asher said. “If you think, in all of 2019, we had 121 murders. So obviously we’ve seen this dramatic increase in murders, that really started middle half of 2020.”
The sharp rise in crime comes at a time when the New Orleans Police Department is facing a significant manpower shortage.
“When you have no faith and no hope, when you feel like no one cares about you, you will do the darndest’ things, because you don’t care,” said anti-crime advocate Michael Willis, of the group Helping Other People Endure (or HOPE).
Willis said New Orleans is losing its’ culture through losing its’ people to gun violence.
“What’s the solution, what’s the plan to really create crime prevention, retaliation prevention? Because that’s all this really is, retaliation,” Willis said. “Let’s just say today somebody gets killed. If we don’t get on top of it today and get with the family members and friends, it’s what we say today that’ll determine the future.”
If you have any information that could help detectives investigate the homicide of Spellman, you’re encouraged to contact New Orleans Police Department or remain anonymous and call Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans at 504-822-1111.