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NEW ORLEANS — Nine people injured Sunday morning on popular Bourbon Street in New Orleans was the result of two men trying to shoot one another after an altercation, said police.

Two people were in critical condition after two "cowardly" men got into a fight over "something stupid," said New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

Police are still working to gather a description of the suspects.

"This is a heinous crime," Serpas said. "This is two young men, both armed with firearms, who chose to settle a dispute between themselves without a moment's care for anyone else."

Police were called to Bourbon Street about 2:45 a.m. Central Time.

A witness described the incident as an angry-sounding man shooting at another man and then emptying his gun into the crowd.

"Just turned around and he started shooting at the crowd. He seemed pissed off at some dude, pulled the gun out and started shooting at the guy then turned around on the crowd and started shooting at us."

Serpas said surveillance video from nearby businesses were able to get a good look at the shooting scene. He's asking anyone who has video from the scene to send it to police to help identify a suspect.

Serpas said he's certain they're "going to catch these two little young men and we're going to bring them to justice."

"I hope that they're listening," he said. "I hope that their friends are listening, and hope their mom and them are listening. We know a little bit more about them than they think we know."

In a statement issued Sunday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the "No. 1 priority is to keep New Orleans safe. These kinds of incidents will not go unanswered."

Serpas said police and EMS were on the scene moments after the shooting took place.

Some of the victims are not from New Orleans, Serpas said. Police are still unsure whether the shootings were gang-related.

The shooting comes less than a week before the Essence Festival is set to begin. Serpas said more police will be on hand for Essence Fest, as is protocol for bigger events, and that "plenty" of officers will be visible.

Sunday morning's incident is the third major shooting on Bourbon Street in the last three years. In February on the Saturday before Mardi Gras, an argument led to a shooting that sent four people to the hospital. During Halloween in 2011, one person was killed and seven others were injured after gunmen opened fire on each other in the crowd.

Bourbon Street is New Orleans' most famous street, a nightly swirl of bright neon and happy tourists with beverage in hand. A blend of jazz joints, strip clubs, bars and restaurants, Bourbon Street has everything from four-star dining to sex shows.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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