Incident Summary:

12/31/1972: Mark Essex, a member of the Republic of New Afrika, indiscriminately fired shots into the Central Lockup area of the Police Headquarters in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. Cadet Alfred E. Harrell was killed and lieutenant Horatio Perez was wounded in the initial barrage of bullets. Essex ignited firecrackers to distract police and fled from the scene escaping into the Burkant Building, however, Essex inadvertently set off the building's alarm system. Police officers, Edwin Hosli and Kenneth Blapper, responding to the alarm were ambushed by Essex at the warehouse. Officer Hosli was wounded and died from his injuries three months later. Essex was able to escape from the police once more. It is believed that Essex was injured in the incident because his blood was scattered throughout the warehouse.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:


New Orleans

Location Details:
2800 Perdido Street

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Police
Name of Entity New Orleans Police Department
Specific Description Indiscriminate members of New Orleans police stationed at department headquarters
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Rifle/Shotgun (non-automatic)
Firearms Handgun
Weapon Details
Ruger .44 caliber magnum semi-automatic carbine rifle and a Colt .38 revolver
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information The shootings began at 10:55 PM. Authorities were unsure what type of injury Mark Essex sustained. It is believed that he was either shot by police or that he injured himself while climbing into the warehouse. Around two days after the attack, New Orleans television station WWL received a letter from Essex stating that the New Orleans Police Department would be attacked on December 31, 1972. If is unknown if he sent the letter before or after this incident. Essex used the same Ruger .44 caliber magnum in his assault on the New Orleans Howard Johnson one week later (197301070003).
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Republic of New Afrika Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Letter)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 2 Fatalities / 2 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 2
Number of U.S. Fatalities 2
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 2
Number of U.S. Injured 2
Number of Perpetrators Injured 1
Peter Hernon, "A Terrible Thunder: The Story of the New Orleans Sniper," Garrett County Press, 1978.
Chuck Hustmyre, "Mark Essex," TruTV, 2010. .
Martin Waldron. "New Orleans Sniper Identified; Rifle Linked to Killing of Rookie," New York Times, January 10, 1973.