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18-year-old accused in City Park murder, but NOPD says case still active

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - An 18-year-old man is facing a second degree-murder charge for allegedly gunning down a teen, Friday night (Sept. 24), according to New Orleans police.

NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson explained how the department acted quickly to find their man and arrest him within days.

“Dijon Dixon, an 18-year-old male, was positively identified and located and arrested,” Ferguson said.

That is the man police say opened fire on six people, killing 17-year-old Cornelius Smith and injuring four other teen boys and a man.

Ferguson said it happened Friday evening in a car near City Park and Canal. First called in as an aggravated battery, he said officers soon learned most of the victims were between 15 and 17-years old.

LSU Health Criminologist Peter Scharf said it’s always concerning when juveniles are involved in violent crimes like this.

“And that’s the one we really don’t understand very well,” Scharf said.

Five juvenile victims in one shooting and eight shootings in four days -- Scharf said this sort of bloodshed makes it tough to see overall progress.

“It’s a horror show but, statistically, the department is doing better,” Scharf said.

Yet, Scharf said it can serve as a reminder to officers and top brass -- even with a drop in the murder rate, there’s no resting on laurels.

"All the issues that were true two years ago when we had 176 murders are still true today," he said.

When it comes to finding the perpetrator, Ferguson said their method is working.

“Old fashioned police work is what it came down to,” Ferguson said.

At least, that’s how he said officers identified and tracked down Dixon.

"Our third district officers, our homicide unit, our data analytics unit worked tirelessly throughout the weekend," Ferguson explained. "They continued to work and work every lead that they had."

Working closely with St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s deputies, Ferguson said members of the department’s special operations TIGER unit arrested Dixon. Even so, he said this is still an active and open investigation.

"Just because there's an arrest, this does not mean the case is closed," Ferguson said.

Ferguson said investigators plan to follow up with the district attorney’s office to ensure there’s enough evidence for a conviction.

He said the community is just as involved in an investigation as the officers, which is why he’s encouraging anyone with information in any of the weekend’s shootings to come forward.

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