Police release man questioned in New Orleans shootout

NEW ORLEANS Thu Jul 3, 2014 3:48pm EDT

Justin Odom, 20, is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of the New Orleans Police Department. REUTERS/New Orleans Police Department/Handout via Reuters

Justin Odom, 20, is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of the New Orleans Police Department.

Credit: Reuters/New Orleans Police Department/Handout via Reuters

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NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Authorities set free a 20-year-old man on Thursday after questioning him about a weekend shootout on New Orleans' Bourbon Street that left one person dead and nine others wounded.

Justin Odom was released a day after turning himself in to police in nearby Gretna, hours after being announced as a person of interest in the shootings, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said.

"At this time we are still investigating what his involvement may be," said New Orleans police spokeswoman Hilal Williams.     

Odom was released by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, which had arrested and held him overnight on outstanding traffic and shoplifting-related warrants after New Orleans homicide detectives questioned him on Wednesday with his lawyer present.

Odom's release came shortly after New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu identified the woman who died from her wounds on Wednesday as 21-year-old Brittany Thomas of Hammond, Louisiana.

"Our deepest thoughts and sympathies are with the family of Brittany Thomas," Landrieu said in a statement. "This type of tragedy strikes at the heart of who we are as a people and as a city."

A second person of interest, identified as an acquaintance of Odom named "Josh" or "Joe," has not yet turned up, police said.

The incident began as a verbal dispute between two men who then both opened fire around 2:45 a.m. CDT on Sunday, police said.

The victims ranged in age from 19 to 39, police said.

Bourbon Street runs through the heart of New Orleans' oldest neighborhood, the French Quarter, a prime tourist destination packed with bars, restaurants, clubs and souvenir shops.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Gunna Dickson and Sandra Maler)

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