Barely an hour after the conclusion of a meeting Tuesday night about armed robberies in the Uptown area, three teens were robbed by a man with a shotgun in a park on Napoleon Avenue — and investigators have already identified a suspect and seized a gun during a search of his home, New Orleans police said.
The three male victims, all age 18, were in the Laurence Square Park near Napoleon Avenue and Magazine Street around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, according to the initial NOPD report. A man with a shotgun approached and confronted them, demanded their phones and money, and left with their belongings, the report states.
Detectives working overnight quickly developed a suspect in the case and obtained a search warrant for his home, said NOPD Second District Commander Paul Noel in a quickly-called news conference Wednesday morning in front of the district station — just across the Napoleon Avenue construction zone from the park. Investigators found a handgun at the man’s home, but not the shotgun, Noel said.
The investigation is quickly continuing, Noel said, but the suspect has not been arrested. Noel declined to specify whether the suspect remains in custody or has been released, citing the ongoing investigation.
August was a record-setting month for robberies in the Second District, with 19 reported, Noel had said at the previous night’s community meeting about the armed robberies. Of those 19, 11 were solved — linked to a group of three teens and a man named Larry Vail — and two more will be solved soon, Noel said. Following those arrests, the Second District had experienced a relative lull, with only two robberies reported in September prior to the case in the park.
One of the crime-prevention strategies police have suggested is creating a “grid” of private surveillance cameras around neighborhoods to capture images of suspects approaching or fleeing from robberies. Detectives are still looking for any cameras that may assist with the Laurence Square case, Noel said, and the Second District station does not have any — nor do any police buildings around the city, said a spokesman for the department.
Anyone with information is urged to call the NOPD Second District station at 658-6020 to speak to a detective, or CrimeStoppers at 822-1111 to leave an anonymous tip that could be eligible for a cash reward.
[Note: The news conference about this case just concluded, and this article is still being updated.]