Manhunt culminates in arrest of suspect who allegedly shot deputy, property manager during eviction | Crime/Police

A multi-neighborhood manhunt that closed streets, locked down schools and had drones and helicopters circling the air Wednesday ended with the apprehension of a suspect police say shot a deputy constable and a property manager after they served him with eviction papers at a West Lake Forest apartment buildings.

Warren Smith, 53, a constable who formerly served in the New Orleans Police Department, was shot in the back of his left shoulder, and the 36-year-old property manager, who was not identified, was shot in the chest. Both men were at the hospital in stable condition, NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson said at a press briefing outside University Medical Center at around 11:30 am Wednesday.







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Members of law enforcement respond after a deputy constable and a property manager were shot Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, while serving an eviction notice at an apartment complex in the 7800 block of West Coronet Court in the West Lake Forest area of ​​New Orleans, authorities said. (Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune)



An eviction gone wrong

The ordeal began shortly before 10 am, when Smith, another deputy and the property manager were serving an eviction warrant issued Sept. 6 in the 7800 block of South Coronet Court. The tenant owed $2,180 and had not paid the $218 monthly rent since Sept. 2021, according to documents from First City Court.

Deputy constables are law enforcement officers with full arrest powers who enforce City Court mandates, including evictions, courthouse security and property seizures. Though they carry guns, Boissiere said his deputies are trained to call NOPD if there are signs of trouble and “not to use a weapon unless absolutely necessary.”

Because the process was initially uneventful, Smith’s fellow deputy had moved ahead to the next address shortly before Smith and the property manager were shot.

“It was going so smoothly, he felt comfortable to go to the next one,” First City Court Constable Lambert Boissiere Jr. said. “We do hundreds of them and very seldom have a problem.”

“I heard a couple shots — Boom! Boom!” said a woman who lives nearby. The woman, a neighborhood resident of 37 years, asked to remain anonymous because she fears retribution. “My neighbor called and said ‘Girl, they shot a police officer!'”

How many guns were fired remained unclear Wednesday. Ferguson said police are still investigating whether the deputy constable fired his weapon.







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Members of law enforcement respond after a deputy constable and a property manager were shot Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, while serving an eviction notice at an apartment complex in the 7800 block of West Coronet Court in the West Lake Forest area of ​​New Orleans, authorities said. (Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune)



Massive police response

As authorities briefly closed a section of Interstate 10 for the ambulance that rushed to University Medical Center, law enforcement officers from multiple agencies — including the FBI, the ATF, US Marshals, Louisiana State Police, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the NOPD’s SWAT team — converged on the scene. Officers carried rifles and bulletproof vests; armored vehicles were posted at the scene.

Darren Williams, who moved to the area about a month ago, surveyed the scene in dismay.

“This situation is sad,” he said. “I hope he comes out with his hands up. Some people are stressed out, losing their house, getting put out — they get to the limit and hurt themselves or someone else.”

The scene was active for nearly two hours and spanned multiple blocks on South Coronet Court. At about 1 pm, police broke down the perimeter on Coronet Court and stopped canvassing, saying their search was expanding further.







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A large police presence is seen near Iberville and North Lopez Streets in New Orleans on Wednesday, October 5, 2022. (Photo by Brett Duke, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




A tip leads to police Mid-City

About an hour later, an anonymous tip about the suspect’s whereabouts led police to Mid-City.

Authorities closed Canal Street from South Dupre Street almost to Carrollton Avenue, halting streetcars, school buses and parents driving to pick up their children from Warren Easton High School, Morris Jeff Community School and Abeona House Child Discovery Center. All three schools went into lockdown because of the SWAT roll.

“I was scared and frightened,” said Dylan B., a senior at Warren Easton High School who declined to give his full last name. “It was really hard for us. The whole school was in a panic because we didn’t know what was going on. The teachers told us to stay calm.”

Police activity appeared to be concentrated on Iberville Street between North Lopez and North Rendon streets. Officers used a megaphone and asked a person in a backyard near the 3200 block of Iberville Street to come out with hands raised.

In a neighboring house, resident Ricky Saltzer texted his wife, who had left and couldn’t return home because of the active scene.

“I was like, ‘Don’t come back for a while,'” Saltzer said. “She said, ‘Be ready to hit the ground if you hear gunshots.’ I had no idea where that guy was.”

At about 2:30 pm, police escorted a man in handcuffs from the Iberville Street property and took him into custody.

Authorities said no one was injured during the apprehension. Police have not released the suspect’s name or charges.

Stephanie Riegel, Matt Sledge, John Simerman and Michelle Hunter contributed to this report

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