Conflicting news and police reports leave a host of questions to be
answered about what really happened between police and suspected U.S. government
The Sept. 4 gun battle, first killing five and now two on the Danziger Bridge
between what was first reported as New Orleans police and U.S. military agents,
has turned into a hodge-podge of conflicting reports, misstatements or outright
An initial report by the Associated Press (AP) claimed five Department of Defense
(DOD) personnel were killed by officers at the bridge located on the 5800 block
of Chef Menteur Highway near Downman Rd.
The original AP report, however, has since been sanitized with the only copies
of the original story kept for posterity at a United Kingdom paper at http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlate
and a foreign internet service, La Voz de Aztlan, at http://www.aztlan.net/police_kill_f
But a quick check of both sites reveals The Guardian link has been deleted
and Lo Voz had to provide through email today the original AP story after their
link was also inaccessible.
The original AP story since taken down reads in part:
"NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Police shot eight people carrying
guns on a New Orleans bridge Sunday, killing five or six, a deputy chief said.
A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers said the victims were contractors
on their way to repair a canal.
"The contractors were walking across a bridge on their way to launch barges
into Lake Pontchartrain to fix the 17th Street Canal, said John Hall, a spokesman
for the Corps.
"Earlier Sunday, New Orleans Deputy Police Chief W.J. Riley said police
shot at eight people, killing five or six.
"The shootings took place on the Danziger Bridge, which spans a canal
connecting Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River."
But what now exists from AP is a changed version of the story, either indicating
reporter error or more likely an intentional switch since no reference to the
original story or even a correction remains.
Notice the huge difference of how the sanitized version of the AP story now
reads, saying none of the contractors were killed:
"NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Police shot and killed at least five
people Sunday after gunmen opened fire on a group of contractors traveling across
a bridge on their way to make repairs, authorities said.
"Deputy Police Chief W.J. Riley said police shot at eight people carrying
guns, killing five or six.
"Fourteen contractors were traveling across the Danziger Bridge under
police escort when they came under fire, said John Hall, a spokesman for the
Army Corps of Engineers.
"They were on their way to launch barges into Lake Pontchartrain to help
plug the breech in the 17th Street Canal, Hall said.
"None of the contractors was injured, Mike Rogers, a disaster relief coordinator
with the Army Corps of Engineers, told reporters in Baton Rouge."
And before looking at the official New Orleans police report and public release
of the incident, released Tuesday to the Arctic Beacon, serious questions have
to be asked regarding what has turned out to be huge discrepancies in all the
existing reports or fabrications of the incident.
First, who were the "military agents" originally reported killed
while making their way to the 17th Street Canal levee break? What were they
doing there and why did police open fire on federal personnel, as originally
And even more sinister questions have been asked by La Voz after covering the
story last September:
"No one is saying anything and it appears that the news story has now
been swept under the rug. Were these US Department of Defense personnel a Special
Forces group or Navy Seals with top secret orders to sabotaged the levee? There
are verifiable reports that at least 100 New Orleans police officers have disappeared
from the face of the earth and that two have committed suicide. Could these
be policemen that died defending the levee against sabotage by "federal
Further, why was it reported that it was necessary to shoot and kill five or
six DOD personnel when now the following official report released by the New
Orleans police indicates only two civilians were killed and no defense contractors
What makes this even stranger is that for at least two months after the story
was released no one was talking about the incident, as it was swept under the
rug by AP and not followed up by any major news outlets.
Although reporters make errors, tt is hard to believe professionals can make
this big an error, as they first report five to six government personnel killed,
which has now been reduced to only two civilians.
The following is the most up-to-date release by the New Orleans Police Department's
Public Affairs Office, telling a completely different story than reported in
the initial days of the shoot-out:
"New Orleans, La. --This morning members of the New Orleans
Police Department issued an update regarding the attempted murder of a Deputy
Sheriff with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, as well is seven members
of the New Orleans Police Dept. The incident culminated into the shooting of
six people, two of which were fatal. The ordeal occurred September 4, 2001,
at approximately 9:00 a.m., on the Danziger Bridge, located in the 5800 block
of Chef Menteur Highway near Downman Road.
"New Orleans Police Officers, Sergeant Robert Gisevius and Kenneth Bowen,
along with Officers Robert Faulcon, Robert Barrios, AnthonyVillavaso, Michael
Hunter and Ignatius Hills, all responded to a call for assistance, two officers
'down" under the Danziger Bridge.
"Simultaneously, Deputy Sheriff David Ryder of the St. I.andry Parish
Sheriff's Office requested immediate help from the New Orleans Police Department
because he and volunteer rescue personnel (with boats) were receiving gunfire
from several persons on the same bridge.
"As the officers drove into the area they were met with gunfire from,
at least four suspects at the base of the bridge. The officers positioned themselves
and began an exchange of gunfire. The gunmen, along with three other persons,
totaling seven, jumped over the side of the concrete barrier onto a walkway,
approximately three feet high, and continued the exchange of gunfire, when five
persons were shot by officers.
"They are believed to be New Orleans residents and identified as: an unidentified
gunman who sustained a gunshot wound to his body and died cm die scene; 19 year-old
gunman Jose Holmes who sustained gunshot wounds to his body and is listed in
stable condition at nearby hospital; 44-year-old Leonard Bartholomew sustained
gunshot wounds to his heel and head and has been released from the hospital;
39-year-old Susan Bartholomew sustained * gunshot wound to her right arm and
leg and has been released from the hospital; 17- year-old Leisha Bartholomew
was wounded in the abdomen and leg and was treated and released from the hospital.
"Forty-nine-year-old Lance Madison was one of the suspects who ran across
the Danziger Bridge along with a second unidentified gunman Madison was seen
discarding his handgun into the Industrial Canal. The second suspect continued
running to a neaiby mote and was confronted by a New Orleans Police Officer.
The suspect reached into his waist and turned toward the officer who fired one
shot fatally wounding him. Lance Madison was apprehended a short time later
in the same area by the Louisiana State Police.
"When Jose Holmes is released from the hospital, he will be arrested on
eight counts of attempted murder of police officers, along with Lance Madison,
Leonard Bartholomew, Susan Bartholomew and Leisha Bartholomew were not arrested
pending further review as to their involvement; however, the District Attorney
is being consulted.
"There is no confirmation that the families of the two decreased suspects
were notified. Orleans Parish Coroner's chief investigator John Gagliano will
release their names once the families are notified.
"There were separate reports to the police department of sniper fire in
the same area. Members of the Louisiana State Police were assisting and were
in the process of responding to those reports when the exchange of gunfire began."