NEW ORLEANS — A woman who survived a barrage of police bullets but lost her arm in the shooting testified yesterday that she never heard police issue a warning or identify themselves before they opened fire on her family during a deadly encounter on a bridge in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.
Susan Bartholomew, the first witness to testify in the trial of five current and former New Orleans police officers, said she felt bullets piercing her body as she huddled with her husband and teenage daughter behind a concrete barrier.
During opening statements, jurors heard vastly different accounts of the shootings that killed two people and wounded four others on the Danziger Bridge less than a week after the 2005 storm’s landfall.
Justice Department attorney Bobbi Bernstein described an out-of-control group of officers whose attitude on the morning of Sept. 4, 2005, was “shoot first and ask questions later’’ when they stormed out of a truck and opened fire.
But defense attorney Frank DeSalvo said there was more fantasy than fact in Bernstein’s opening statements.