Four arrested in shooting of women, children in Harvey

A multiple shooting at a Harvey apartment complex Monday morning left three small children wounded and sparked a wild car chase across the Crescent City Connection into New Orleans.

Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested four men early Monday morning after authorities said they shot three children and two women in an apartment next to a Harvey high school, said Col. John Fortunato, a sheriff’s spokesman.

Sheriff Newell Normand said Davante Robertson, 19; Charlie Gumms, 18; Frankie Hookfin Jr., 22; and Lashawn Davis, 20, were all booked with attempted murder and several other charges.

Gumms, Davis and Robertson have been booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center; Hookfin remains in the hospital with a broken leg and head injuries.

“Anytime someone shoots three kids under three and two adult females with an AK-47, that’s pretty damn significant in my view,” Normand said.

“We have removed four players who are incredibly dangerous, stupid and otherwise,” the sheriff said. “The investigation continues as it relates to these four individuals.”

The incident began around 4:18 a.m. at an apartment complex in the 2300 block of Lapalco Boulevard, Fortunato said.

Deputies were next to the complex at Helen Cox High School making an unrelated arrest when they heard a “barrage” of bullets and tires squealing, Fortunato said.

Investigators recovered 19 shell casings from an AK-47 assault rifle and shell casings from a .40-caliber handgun, Normand said.

Deputies then saw a vehicle flee the complex and speed onto Lapalco Boulevard, he said.

As several deputies gave chase, while others responded to the apartment complex, where authorities received a telephone call from a man who reported his aunt had been shot inside an apartment.

“This all happened in a matter of seconds,” Fortunato said.

Investigators learned from the woman that she was in her apartment unit when she heard a knock at the door from someone who later identified himself as the police.

When the woman opened the door, the assailants opened fire into the unit with a large-caliber weapon, Fortunato said.

Two women inside were wounded along two female toddlers and a 23-month-old boy.

The boy was initially listed in critical condition but has been upgraded to critical but stable condition, Fortunato said.

There were at least two other people in the apartment at the time of the shooting and possibly someone else who may have fled before deputies arrived, the sheirff said.

Investigators believe the shooting stemmed from an argument at an eastern New Orleans bar last month, and a previous homicide in Jefferson Parish, Normand said.

However, the sheriff added he wasn’t certain if the actual target of the shooting was at home when the attack occurred.

While investigators examined the shooting scene, deputies continued their chase of the vehicle, which led them to the West Bank Expressway and eventually over the Crescent City Connection bridge, Fortunato said.

Once the suspect vehicle was in New Orleans, Fortunato said the driver lost control near the Earhart Boulevard exit, and the vehicle was damaged.

Four men jumped from the car and began fleeing deputies, Fortunato said.

Davis, Gumms and Robertson ran down an exit ramp while stripping off their clothes, while Hookfin jumped over the ramp to the ground below, he said.

Hookfin injured his leg and was quickly captured. The other three suspects were found in nearby bushes after deputies called for a canine unit to begin searching, Fortunato said.

Investigators recovered two guns from the scene, a 9 mm handgun and an AK-47. That rifle was connected to the shooting scene through ballistics testing, he said.

The men were initially taken into custody in New Orleans. Fortunato said.

Normand said the suspects are part of a group of individuals responsible for more than 100 homicides, shootings and other mayhem in Jefferson Parish that dates more than a year.

The sheriff unveiled a chart breaking down how crimes and their suspected perpetrators are connected in the parish.

Normand wouldn’t release too many details about the chart, citing ongoing investigations, but said investigators are trying to connect the dots every day.

Just like in many other jurisdictions, much of Jefferson Parish’s violence is linked to a small group of individuals settling scores over conflicts and narcotics, he said.

“I wanted you to understand the complexity of what we’re dealing with and that this office has been all over it,” Normand said. ““Typically (the shootings) are relative to some conflict resolution and have some type of drug component to it… It generally runs the gamut.”