Ongoing investigation on Australian duo who were shot in New Orleans

Curtin University students Jake Rovacsek and Toben Clements were shot in New Orleans. Photo / Facebook
Curtin University students Jake Rovacsek and Toben Clements were shot in New Orleans. Photo / Facebook

"You know what time it is?"

These were the chilling last words two Australian university students heard before they were shot in New Orleans in the early hours of Wednesday morning last week.

Four days later, investigators say they have no new leads regarding the three suspects responsible for luring the men, identified as Jake Rovacsek and Toben Clements from Curtin University, into a car before shooting them both when they refused to hand over "hundreds of dollars".

It was initially alleged that the two students were shot as the result of a drug deal gone wrong, but a relative of one of the men has since denied that version of events claiming they had accepted an invitation to continue to another party, but were instead robbed and shot.

New Orleans police said they were still scrambling to locate CCTV footage of the incident and interviewing witnesses, but believe the three men involved in the botched up holdup "were definitely working in tandem".

"The investigation is ongoing and we continue to search for video in the case. When we have video that clearly identifies a perpetrator and that would be helpful to release to the public for their help, we will do so," police spokesman Tyler Gamble told News Corp Australia. "We do not have any video for the public at this time," he added.

Mr Rovacsek, 21, and Mr Clements, 23, are in a stable condition and recovering at the New Orleans University Medical Centre. Their families, as well as two members of the Australian consulate and a university representative, flew to the Louisiana city to be at their bedside upon hearing the news.

Mr Rovacsek is believed to have been shot in the stomach and Mr Clements in the chest. It is not known how soon the Kalgoorlie-based School of Mines' students will return home to Australia.

The tourist hotspot where the mates were drinking in the early hours of the morning, on popular Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, has "private security cameras installed at hundreds of area businesses and residents," police confirmed.

The two students were drinking in Bourbon street, French Quarter, New Orleans. Photo / Getty Images
The two students were drinking in Bourbon street, French Quarter, New Orleans. Photo / Getty Images

As does surrounding neighbourhoods in New Orleans, including Algiers, where the duo were driven to and subsequently gunned down.

The street corner in Algiers, located about 7km from the French Quarter on the West Bank of the Mississippi river, has at least two security cameras that are visible from the footpath.

The site of the former Fischer housing development is one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in America, with high murder, crime and poverty rates. According to police, as the pair exited the vehicle they were approached by another man who demanded their money.

"When they told him they didn't have it, the unknown male shot them both and then jumped into the vehicle with the unknown driver and fled the scene," the statement read.

The students later revealed that the unidentified third assailant told them, "you know what time it is", before the bullets were fired.

A manager at The Swamp, the bar on Bourbon Street where the students are alleged to have approached a local man in the early hours of the morning looking to buy drugs, confirmed that their CCTV footage had been handed over to the police and they were assisting with the investigation.

But despite police not yet releasing video to the public, 9 News has obtained surveillance video of the pair drinking with friends at The Swamp bar just hours before the incident occurred. The footage shows them leaving at around 1.30am, about three hours before they were shot.

Staff at the late-night establishment, famous among revellers for its mechanical bull in the courtyard, told News Corp they believed Mr Rovacsek and Mr Clements came in from a private party, left, returned again and then left the bar by themselves.

They understood the pair got into a taxi on a nearby street, rather than a dark-coloured sedan, as was earlier reported.

- news.com.au

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