LAFAYETTE — Lafayette police arrested the man who they said shot and killed one of two armed intruders who broke into his Paradise Street home early Wednesday morning.
Police booked Joseph Johnlouis, 30, on illegal drug and weapons counts less than 12 hours after he allegedly shot and killed Spencer James Francis, 43, in the doorway of Johnlouis’ home, officials said.
Lafayette Cpl. Paul Mouton said Francis and another man, both masked and armed with handguns, broke into Johnlouis’ home and a gunfight ensued that ended with Francis lying dead in the doorway.
The other intruder, who remained at large Wednesday night and has not been identified by authorities, fled in a light-colored four-door vehicle, Mouton said.
Lafayette crime scene investigators remained inside and outside the home throughout the day. The home has a large metallic “Welcome” sign hanging on a wall by the door on the front porch.
Neighbors said they live in a usually quiet neighborhood. One block to the east of Paradise Street lies Happiness Street, with Friendship Street and Harmony Street running parallel nearby.
The shooting occurred before 3 a.m., police said.
“I heard a ‘wham, wham.’ That’s it,” said Clifton Journet, 88, who has lived on Paradise Street for 58 years. “I thought a branch had fallen on the house.”
Journet said he did not know Johnlouis, who he said rented the home at 120 Paradise St. “When you got rent houses, people go in and out,” he said.
Joseph Celestine, who lives a few doors down, sat for hours Wednesday with a friend on a porch next door to 120 Paradise St.
Celestine said he heard the shots before 3 a.m. and immediately checked the bedroom where his son sleeps to make sure the teen was home and out of harm’s way.
Celestine said he turned on a television to learn about the shooting just a few houses away.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
By noon on Wednesday, more than nine hours after the shooting, Celestine said he had heard police searching inside Johnlouis’ home.
At 3 p.m., Lafayette police said they had arrested Johnlouis on counts of possession with intent to distribute illegal drugs, and possession of a firearm in the presence of illegal drugs.
Lafayette police said they began investigating the shooting after a call came in to dispatchers at 2:50 a.m., police said.
The caller said two suspects had “forcefully entered the residence” in the 100 block of Paradise Street, located off West Willow Street near Interstate 10 and the Evangeline Throughway, according to a news release issued by the police department.
“Once inside the home, the suspects exchanged gunfire with the resident,” with one suspect falling dead at the entrance to the home, the news release stated.
Police are asking those with information about the second intruder or other aspects of the case to call Lafayette Crime Stoppers at (337) 232-TIPS, or 232-8477.