Apr 102014

Percy Brown (via opcso.org)

Percy Brown (via opcso.org)

A man arrested Monday after leading police on a chase through the Milan neighborhood in a stolen truck is now a suspect in a shooting in the Irish Channel on March 29, but investigators say a separate shootout that injured a man this week in the Irish Channel appears to be unrelated.

Percy Brown, 25, has been charged with illegal possession of stolen things, possession of marijuana, aggravated flight from an officer, several counts of hit-and-run driving and reckless operation, and a slew of traffic violations following his attempt to escape from police officers who were pulling him over Monday near Toledano and Claiborne, jail records show.

When police finally apprehended Brown on Freret Street near Amelia — after a chase through the neighborhood that left two police cars damaged, but no officers injured — they found the marijuana on him, said NOPD Sgt. Danny Scanlan on Wednesday, as well as a gun that Brown is believed to have discarded during the chase.

Police investigate a crash on Freret Street near Amelia after a pursuit that damaged two NOPD vehicles. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Police investigate a crash on Freret Street near Amelia after a pursuit that damaged two NOPD vehicles. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

What prompted the chase was officers’ recognizing the Toyota Tundra that Brown was driving as a stolen vehicle used first in a hit-and-run in Broadmoor, then seen later in connection with a March 29 shooting near Seventh and Laurel in the Irish Channel, Scanlan said. How and when Brown obtained the truck remains under investigation, Scanlan said, but the strong physical evidence recovered at both the shooting scene and from the truck may tie Brown conclusively to the shooting.

“It’s definitely the truck used in the shooting,” Scanlan said.

The victim in the Laurel Street shooting is now recovering from his wounds as well, but he is not cooperating with investigators, Scanlan said.

The same night as the police chase that led to Brown’s arrest, another shooting was reported in the Irish Channel, this time around 10 p.m. in the 800 block of Jackson Avenue. A 34-year-old man was driving when gunshots rang out and he was shot in the side, so he took himself to the hospital where he was treated for the injury, police said at the time.

Police found two different kinds of shell casings at the shooting scene, and wonder if the gunmen may have been waiting in ambush for someone else, Scanlan said. Police had previously responded to a report of gunfire in the River Garden area, and the Jackson Avenue shooting may have been related, said NOPD Lt. Frank Young.

“The victim was in the wrong place at the wrong time — he wasn’t involved in anything,” Scanlan said. “He might have driven into a shootout.”

The shootings follow a relative lull in violent crime in the Irish Channel. Crime maps and Uptown Messenger archives show two armed robberies during a citywide rash at the beginning of the year and two since then on Magazine Street, as well as a shooting last October in which no injuries were reported. But it has now been more than a year since the last homicide in the Irish Channel, the Feb. 21, 2013, slaying of Nolan Alofipo on Chippewa Street.

Scanlan said investigators are still trying to determine why the violence has flared so suddenly, but that the two recent shootings appear to be separate incidents.

“They don’t look like they’re connected in any way at this time,” Scanlan said.

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