Suspect in Racially Motivated Post-Katrina Shooting Unlikely to Stand Trial

September 23, 2011

Roland Bourgeois Jr., the New Orleans man charged with shooting three black men in the days after Hurricane Katrina, may never face trial.

Last year, Bourgeois’s neighbor Terri Benjamin told us — and a grand jury — that Bourgeois was among a group of armed men who threatened, attacked and shot African Americans in the Algiers Point neighborhood. Among them was Donnell Herrington, who was shot in the neck while walking through Algiers Point on his way to evacuate the city.

Bourgeois was arrested and charged and was scheduled to stand trial next month in the Herrington shooting.

But Wednesday U.S. Magistrate Judge Louis Moore ruled that Bourgeois is “unable to understand the nature and consequence of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense.”  Bourgeois is terminally ill and needs a liver transplant. Doctors have testified that he has less than a year to live. The judge ordered Bourgeois to remain hospitalized under federal custody. He will be re-evaluated in four months.

The Times-Picayune was unable to reach Herrington for comment yesterday. But last year he recounted the incident to us.

“I thought I was going to die, period,” he said. “I thought it was over.”

This was just one in a string of racially motivated attacks in New Orleans’ predominantly white Algiers Point neighborhood in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

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