Meanwhile, investigations also continued into the other three robberies the same night around Uptown, including one just off St. Charles Avenue in which the victim and his assailants fought over the gun.
How the four robberies fit together is under active investigation by the detectives of the NOPD Sixth District. The robberies include:
- A woman who was robbed of her purse at gunpoint at 10:20 p.m. at First and St. Charles by three young assailants,
- The carjacking at 10:30 p.m. at Camp and Delachaise, during which a 53-year-old man was shot in the chest and a 2004 Cadillac SRX stolen,
- A carjacking at 11:30 p.m. in the 2300 block of Marengo, in which a Toyota Solara was taken at gunpoint,
- And a robbery attempt at 2 a.m. in the 1500 block of Antonine, in which the victim struggled with his assailants until they fled.
Police spotted the Solara shortly after it was taken from Marengo Street and followed it to the Musician’s Village area of the Ninth Ward, where its three occupants jumped out and tried to hide from police. Two of them, ages 14 and 16, were found during a lengthy manhunt, and the 14-year-old was then identified as a participant in the First Street robbery as well, police have said.
Police have not yet been able to determine whether the same suspects were involved in the Camp Street case, because the victim has remained in critical condition and investigators have not been able to talk to him, said NOPD Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy. When investigators checked on him late Wednesday afternoon, he was said to be “improving,” and that he had regained consciousness at some point, Bardy said. Though other family members were at home during the shooting, the victim was the only one outside when the carjackers arrived, said Lt. Frank Young of the Sixth District investigative unit.
Police have yet to locate the vehicle taken from the victim, a light gray or silver 2004 Cadillac SRX.
How or if the fourth robbery was connected to any of the earlier three is also still under investigation. In that case, the victim was getting into his vehicle in the 1500 block of Antonine shortly before 2 a.m. when a gun was placed against his head, Young said. The victim and his gunman began to struggle over the pistol, but a second attacker emerged and hit the victim, knocking him to the ground and gun under the vehicle, Young said.
The two attackers — apparently under the belief that the victim had gotten the gun — then left in a large silver truck, Young said. The victim drove home to report the crime, and when police returned to the parking lot, the gun was gone, Young said.
After a spree of so many unusually violent robberies around Uptown, residents of the shooting victim’s neighborhood expressed a sense of unease Wednesday evening. A prayer service was held at Trinity Episcopal Church for the shooting victim, and a neighbor on her way to said that his family “hopes people’s prayers will be out there.”
Another neighbor who asked not to be identified noted that the streetlights over the shooting scene have been out for a long time, and said she called the city again Wednesday begging them to repair the lights after the shooting.
“People are distressed,” she said, quickly rattling off the locations and times of each of the four robberies by memory. “Whether it was connected or coincidental, that’s scary. The bottom line is, it’s just terrible.”
The city’s news release about the robbery spree follows in full:
Less than an hour after multiple armed robberies happened last night in the Uptown area, New Orleans Police arrested two teenagers they believe committed some of the crimes. The quick arrests can be attributed to officers arriving at the scene of the first robbery just 4 minutes after it occurred, a victim who offered investigating officers a detailed description of the suspects, an off-duty officer who was listening to his police radio and actually spotted the vehicle carrying the suspects, and an overwhelming response by 2nd and 6th District police officers who flooded Uptown when it became apparent that more than one robbery had occurred in the same area.
The first robbery took place shortly after 10:00 P.M. in the 1600 block of First Street. A woman was walking when three males ran up behind her and demanded all of her possessions. One male was armed with a handgun while another male stood watch of the area as the victim handed her purse over. Moments later, another male came running down the street and took possession of the purse. All three perpetrators subsequently fled down First Street, then unknown.
In the second robbery, a 53-year-old man was sitting in his driveway in a gray 2004 Cadillac Escalade in the 3400 block of Camp Street when he was approached by three unknown males. The victim was subsequently shot twice in the chest and his truck was taken during the incident. The victim is currently listed in critical condition and investigators have not been able to obtain a statement from him. The truck has not yet been located.
In the third robbery, a woman was sitting idle in her gray 2008 Toyota Solara in the 2200 block of Marengo Street when she heard a knocking on the window. As the woman looked up, she observed a subject pointing a gun towards her and the subject then demanded for her to get out of the car. After the woman exited the vehicle, the gunman and two subjects entered the car and fled the area.
Shortly after a description of the car was broadcasted over the police radio, an off-duty officer spotted the stolen car getting on the interstate heading eastbound from South Claiborne Avenue. The off-duty officer was traveling in an unmarked car and continued to follow the subjects until other officers arrived to assist him. Responding officers arrived and attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, but the driver of the vehicle refused to stop. Officers pursued the vehicle in to the 3800 block of North Prieur Street where the three subjects abandoned the vehicle and fled into the surrounding neighborhood.
A perimeter was immediately set up and the K-9 Unit was called in to assist in the search of the subjects. The 16-year-old juvenile was apprehended in the 3900 block of North Johnson Street. Shortly thereafter, the 14-year-old juvenile was apprehended in the 1900 block of Alvar Street. The third subject could not be located.
The victim of the robbery in the 1600 block of First Street identified the 14-year-old juvenile as one of the subjects who robbed her.
The victim of the carjacking on Marengo Street positively identified both juveniles as taking part in the incident.
“What happened Uptown last night was incredibly disturbing, but this police department stepped up in every way to get a handle on the situation quickly”, said Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
“Officers arrived on the scene minutes after the first robbery occurred. One victim provided an excellent description of the suspects. Another one of our officers- who wasn’t even on duty- was listening to his police radio, and was also on the look-out for the stolen vehicle occupied by the suspects. He actually spotted it, and alerted fellow officers immediately to its location”, Serpas said.
“Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy told me that he had to send one of the responding officers home, because she’d been working all through the night on this case, and was determined to see all suspects getting arrested before she took a break. This was outstanding police work by all officers involved. They prove that they are very dedicated to serving the people of New Orleans.”