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Lawmaker wants military patrols after child's murder

By Antoinette Campbell, CNN
December 20, 2011 -- Updated 0256 GMT (1056 HKT)
Louisiana lawmaker Austin Badon Jr. said he wants the National Guard to help control the violence in New Orleans.
Louisiana lawmaker Austin Badon Jr. said he wants the National Guard to help control the violence in New Orleans.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The New Orleans mayor's office doesn't plan to ask for troops
  • Keira Holmes Gordon was killed four days before her 2nd birthday
  • A state lawmaker wants city streets patrolled by National Guard troops
  • The governor's office says the request must come from the mayor's office

(CNN) -- A Louisiana lawmaker wants the National Guard to patrol the streets of New Orleans after a toddler who was four days shy of her second birthday was shot and killed in a drive-by.

"She was out here as a innocent bystander. She's dead now," said Rufus Ruck, the child's cousin.

Keira Holmes Gordon was gunned down in a double shooting at the B. W. Cooper Housing development on Sunday. She was one of two people hit when gunmen from two separate cars opened fire on a man who was standing nearby.

According to police, the man ran into a crowded courtyard full of kids trying to escape the barrage of bullets. He was hit several times but survived the shooting.

The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene. She would have turned 2 on Thursday.

State lawmaker Austin Badon Jr., who represents part of Orleans Parish, said crime is spiraling out of control and wants the government to step and help control the violence.

"Everybody's afraid," Badon said. "The bad guys are running the city right now. We gotta take this city back."

Badon contacted Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's office Monday. Jindal's office said Badon was told that such a request would have to come from the New Orleans mayor.

It was not known whether Badon reached out to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, but Frank Collins, spokesman for Jindal, said the governor's office has not received a request for National Guard troops from the mayor.

"We do not plan to ask for troops," Landrieu spokesman Ryan Berni told CNN in an e-mail Monday. "We have a great working relationship with the National Guard, and they are engaged on a daily basis in the crime-fighting work we are doing in New Orleans."

A vigil was held Monday night for the child, he said.

The child's death has angered everyone from residents to state leaders.

"This happened in the street. This happened where people saw it. This happened where people in this community can, once again, stand up and say, 'We're not gonna stand for this,'" New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas told CNN affiliate WWL-TV.

Serpas said police believe the male shooting victim was the target, as he has been arrested twice in the past two years on gun charges.

"It is reprehensible that the courts continue to send these men into the streets of New Orleans to be murderers or murdered, and at the same time innocent young children are lost," Serpas said.

The call for military reinforcements is reminiscent of the city's post-Katrina era, when thousands of National Guard and U.S. Army troops were mobilized and sent to New Orleans after reports of widespread violence in the days after the storm.

CNN's Dave Alsup and Jennifer Tuttle contributed to this report.

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