Chicago radio host was in New Orleans when 'hail of bullets' killed a waiter, wounded a friend

WXRT disc jockey Terri Hemmert says she was celebrating her birthday at a New Orleans restaurant over the weekend when "a hail of bullets" killed a waiter and wounded one of her friends.

"Twenty-eight of my precious friends were hitting the floor," Hemmert said in a Facebook post. "I looked to my right. Two very special women were on the floor by my feet. There was blood. And a bullet hole on the wall. Two inches from me. And a bullet in my friend’s back. It was surreal. But it was real. Only too real.

"Someone died," she continued. "Nobody we knew. But somebody’s son. Somebody’s brother. I will spare you some details, but the point here is that when you get tired of hearing about these shootings think again."


The shooting occurred Friday outside Mandina’s Restaurant in New Orleans’ Mid-City neighborhood. Police said they believe two people targeted the waiter who was killed by the gunfire. Family members identified him as Hilbert Walker III, 23.

A private security guard returned fire and was not injured. A condition was not available for Hemmert’s friend, whose name has not been released.

No one was reported in custody.

The shooting came on the first day of the two-weekend New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, one of the busiest tourist periods in the city.

Hemmert began her post by saying, "What I did on my spring vacation. I went to New Orleans. I did not go to the Jazz and Heritage Festival. I did not eat Crawfish Monica. I did start my big birthday party. It was interrupted by a hail of bullets.

"It’s no longer a figure of speech when you say you dodged a bullet," she said. "And if someone says ‘this is not America’ or ‘this is not us,’ they had better duck. I’m not one to throw a punch, but there’s always a first time. I have a friend who will carry a bullet in her back… If you attend the Fest For Beatles you know my friend Victoria. I’ve known her since she was a 14-year-old.

"I’m pissed," Hemmert continued. "I’m pissed at the madness. And I am grateful that every one of the 28 people I hold dear are living another day. My two friends and roommates this weekend and I are laying low. We’re not going to the fest. No restaurants, please. For now."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.