Apr 222013

Tyron R. Harden (via OPCSO)

A 19-year-old New Orleans East man believed to be a member of a New Orleans street gang was arrested Monday and charged with murder in the ongoing investigation of the deaths of a 5-year-old girl at a Central City birthday party and a 33-year-old woman driving nearby and caught in the gunfire last year, authorities said.

Tyron R. Harden, “a known member of the Young Mafia Fellaz (YMF) and an associate of the 110’ers criminal street gangs,” is one of three men who opened fire that day, according to the NOPD news release about his arrest.

Police arrested Leo Riles, another of the alleged gunmen, the day after the shooting, and he remains in jail as his murder charge proceeds toward trial, jail records show. Last month, police also named 22-year-old Gary Magee a “person of interest” in the investigation with outstanding arrest warrants from other cases, and jail records do not show an arrest for him yet.

For details about Harden’s arrest, see the official news release below:

Today members of NOPD’s Violent Offenders Warrants Squad (VOWS), Special Operations Division (SOD) and the department’s Street Gangs Unit arrested a New Orleans East man they believe was one of three gunmen who opened fire on a child’s birthday party last May, killing a 5-year-old girl as well as a mother of three. Three others at the outside gathering, including the 10-year-old birthday boy, were wounded.

Officers picked up 19-year-old Tyron Harden this morning at his residence on Lamb Road. Harden and two others are accused of shooting into the crowd that had gathered just before 6pm the night of May 29th, 2012, in the 1200-block of Simon Bolivar Avenue. 5-year-old Brianna Allen was killed, as well as 33-year-old Shawanna Pierce. Pierce was in her car about a block away from the party when a stray bullet went through her windshield, striking her in the face. She died a short time later at a nearby hospital.

The 10-year-old boy, for whom the party was thrown, and two other men were wounded in the incident. All three were treated at hospitals and released by the next day.

After arresting Harden, officers executed a search warrant at his residence and found a .40 caliber handgun. Harden was brought to NOPD Headquarters, where he provided a statement before being booked with two counts of First Degree Murder and three counts of Criminal Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Murder.

Homicide detectives are aware of others who were involved in these murders, and are actively building an investigation around them. Other arrests in this case have been made after some individuals intentionally misguided detectives by giving them false information. Investigators anticipate more arrests of this nature in the future.

Tyron Harden was a known member of the Young Mafia Fellaz (YMF) and an associate of the 110’ers criminal street gangs. He has been previously arrested for Illegal Possession of a Firearm during a Crime, Armed Robbery and Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License.

Members of the NOPD intelligence unit, Street Gangs Unit, FBI, ATF, and the District Attorney’s Office were instrumental in the development of this case in partnership with the Homicide Section.

“I want to commend our Homicide detectives for piecing together this unthinkable crime, which involved gunmen actually planning to strike at a child’s birthday party because they knew it would be an easily-accessed event, and they’d have ample opportunity to hit their desired target. These men didn’t care that they might end up killing one child and wounding another during their attempt, and that’s unconscionable”, said Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

“We’ve not received an abundance of help from the community in this mass shooting. So we again ask for those who saw something or heard something about this event to please contact us. Any new pieces of information could prove invaluable in this case”, Serpas said.

If you know anything about the shooting on Simon Bolivar on May 29, 2012, please call CrimeStoppers at (504)822-1111. You do not have to give your name, and if your tip helps in making an arrest and eventual indictment in this case, you could receive a cash reward.

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