NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— 2023 has already gotten off to a violent start in New Orleans with multiple shootings in the first week of the new year.

“I woke up and it sounded like an automatic weapon with a constant barrage of bullets,” Lionel Oliver, Central City resident said.

Signs of gunfire remain the day after five people were shot and two dead in Central City on St. Andrew Street and Rev. John Raphael Jr. Way.

“I heard anywhere from 20 to 30 shots, just mass chaos,” he said.

Oliver said, “I can tell they were shot. They were limping, some were laying on the ground and people were screaming and crying.”

It has been an extremely violent week with more than a dozen shot and wounded in 3 different incidents. One on St. Andrew, another on Tupelo Street, and another on S. Rocheblave.

“We are off to another horrific start to 2023,” Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission said.

Goyeneche says the number of shootings are escalating, as the number of NOPD officers are diminishing.

“The Police Department doesn’t have the numbers to address the violent crime rate,” he said.

Goyeneche said in 2019 there were 1,300 NOPD officers and now only 900. He feels a change in leadership with Michelle Woodfork taking the lead can help.

“This is interim acting like a superintendent making changes,” Goyeneche said.

And residents say a change must come sooner than later.

“It is sickening. Nobody wants to deal with that. People want to go to work, come home, and be in peace. There are no good reasons for all this going on,” Oliver said.

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