This is the shocking moment two tourists were brutally beaten and robbed in New Orleans by a gang of four men on Saturday night (24 June).

Boston residents James Curran and Tim Byrne were walking through the French Quarter of New Orleans on the way back to their hotel just before 9pm when they were attacked from behind.

CCTV footage of what appeared to be a well-coordinated assault – lasting just 20 seconds – was released by the New Orleans Police Department as they launched a hunt for the suspects.

The video shows the two tourists stroll along Bienville Street before two men run up behind the pair and land a sucker punch to their heads.

Byrne appears to be almost instantly knocked out cold and falls face first onto the pavement. At the same time, a dazed Curran is held in a head lock by the other attacker.

With both victims immobilised, two other men rush over and start rummaging through Curran and Byrne's pockets, taking their phones and wallets. All four assailants then run off.

While a disorientated Curran appears to look around for his glasses, one of the attackers returns to Byrne and yanks his body off the ground to reveal what appears to be a growing pool of blood. He then runs off into the distance.

Curran can be seen crawling to Byrne as his almost totally-limp body heaves up and down with each breath.

About half-a-minute later, two bystanders walk over to the pair and seemingly call 911.

Police officers reportedly arrived two minutes later, with the two victims then taken to hospital.

Curran's relative told WWL-TV that the attack left him with a fractured nose and stitches in his face, but he was released from the hospital on Sunday.

Byrne, however, remains in critical condition at the hospital.

"If you look at the video, it seems evident they were attacked from behind, they didn't see it coming and they did not fight back. They simply were victimised," New Orleans police commander Nick Gernon told reporters.

Police arrested Dejuan Paul, 21, in connection with the robbery on Monday, saying he is the person who attacked Byrne and left him out cold. Detectives have identified the other men involved in the attack and urged them to surrender, CBS Boston reported.

Due to the severity of their victims' injuries, Paul and his accomplices now face second-degree robbery charges instead of simple robbery.

Anyone convicted of that crime must serve a minimum of three years and no more than 40 years.

Curran and Byrne were visiting New Orleans to attend the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, for which they work as IT technicians.

Dejaun Paul
Dejaun Paul, 21, is suspected of being one of four men who carried out the violent robbery New Orleans Police Department