This extraordinary story is not an exaggeration. New Orleans criminals routinely assassinate witnesses to crimes. The city's musicians have corageously stood up to these criminals and spoken out repeatedly against them. I wrote about this in my book New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans. Glen David Andrews is one of the central characters in the book. Here's the story from today's New Orleans Times-Picayune:
New Orleans musician saved from robbers by barking dog
Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 9:31 PM
By Naomi Martin The Times-Picayune
Had it not been for the presence of his cousin's pit bull, local musician Glen David Andrews would have been one of the victims robbed at gunpoint outside a Capital One, one of three such armed robberies Monday morning, outside banks in Mid-City, Broadmoor and Gentilly.
View full sizeTimes-Picayune archiveLocal musician Glen David Andrews called 911 when he realized a robbery was in progress. 'I saw them rob hard-working people of everything but they won't get away with this...STAND UP PEOPLE,' he wrote later on his Facebook page.
It was 8:45 a.m. Monday when Andrews, his cousin and Blue, a large and rambunctious pit bull, piled into an SUV to go to the Capital One at Canal Street and South Carrollton Avenue.
Andrews, a trombone player, said he was planning to deposit $3,500 from the weekend's work to divide among his six band members.
Around 8:50 a.m., they pulled up to the bank's entrance on the corner where about six people, some with deposit slips in their hands, were waiting for the bank to open. Andrews said two people in the group were young men -- maybe 20 or 21 -- wearing black hooded sweatshirts, standing apart from each other.
As Andrews got out of the passenger side to join the group, Blue began to bark, loudly and incessantly.
A man, walking up to join the bank customers, joked to Andrews: "Hey man, you can't shut your dog up?"
Suddenly, one of the hooded men turned over his shoulder, looked Andrews in the eye and nodded toward the SUV.
The man's voice was calm: "You better leave right now with that dog. We 'bout to rob the bank."
Andrews turned immediately and got back in the SUV's passenger seat, telling his cousin, whose name is also Glen Andrews and is a musician as well, what he just heard. His cousin drove away, calmly.
"Man, I've lived in the hood all my life. When he told me that, I looked at his outfit and I look at the other guy's outfit, I looked at his gestures and by the grace of God I was able to internalize all that in a second to get out of there," Andrews said Wednesday.
While driving away from the bank, Andrews and his cousin saw the hooded men pull bandanas over their faces and force the crowd into a huddle to rob them at gunpoint. It took only seconds. Andrews dialed 911 from his cell phone.
View full sizeNew Orleans Police DepartmentA sketch of a suspect wanted by New Orleans police for armed robbery in connection with an incident outside the Capital One branch at 4141 Canal St. on Monday.
A detective later told Andrews that one of the robbery victims was an Iraqi war veteran. Andrews' anger boiled as he recalled recent acts of violence in the city including the killing of a toddler in the B.W. Cooper housing complex. First a 2-year-old girl shot to death, then this? he said.
The bank robberies on Monday occurred in the span of about an hour. New Orleans police believe all three incidents are related, said 3rd District Commander Henry Dean, whose territory includes Mid-City and Gentilly. On Wednesday police released a composite sketch of one of the suspects.
Tuesday night, Andrews vented his frustrations on his Facebook page.
"I saw them rob hard-working people of everything but they won't get away with this...STAND UP PEOPLE," he wrote.
As a well-known musician, Andrews wanted to reach a broad audience with his message that speaking up about crime can help authorities quell it.
But, he acknowledged, he now fears being targeted in retaliation for speaking up about what happened.
"There's a good chance I might get killed now walking down the street," Andrews said. Many of his family members warned him against speaking publicly about the incident.
"The right thing to do,'' he said, "might cost me my life."