Woman whose family was relocated after Hurricane Katrina says N.O. gang links killed mother, sister

A teenage suspect is in custody in connection with the deaths of two people and two dogs in a New Orleans parade killing.

Police spokesman Juan Barnes says Carlos Paniagua, 19, was arrested Thursday and taken to the Orleans Parish Prison. He was formally charged Friday with two counts of first-degree murder, animal cruelty and illegal gun possession.

Authorities haven’t said how the two victims died. But dogs found at the scene also died, The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Police are investigating whether the crime was gang-related.

“We’ve received nothing that would say that he was affiliated with a particular group,” New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison said at a news conference Thursday. “That would be the easiest explanation for why he’s in custody for this.”

He said investigators have “no indication there is any affiliation or associations with any gang.”

The case has become something of a symbol in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when Jackson’s family relocated from New Orleans to the Hulman-Harrison Hospital north of Houston in 2005. She told The Houston Chronicle a motive appears to be retaliation for the death of two guards who were ambushed by a gang member in 2005.

“It’s just like something from the movie, ‘Outbreak,’ ” said Jackson, whose father worked at the hospital. “People go out on medevac teams, and they’re the ones who help save your life.”

According to the newspaper, she was vacationing with her mother in Houston on Wednesday, when someone flagged down a paramedic to report that a woman had been shot. The newspaper reported that she was found a block away from the scene. She died at the scene.

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