Victim in drive-by shooting identified and other New Orleans crime news

Samuel Cooks
Samuel Cooks

St. Thomas drive-by slaying victim identified

Authorities identified the man killed during a drive-by shooting Tuesday evening in the St. Thomas area as Billy McCormick, 22, of New Orleans.

He died in the 400 block of Felicity Street from multiple gunshot wounds after someone shot him about 7 p.m., said John Gagliano, the Orleans Parish coroner’s chief investigator.

McCormick and two other men were riding in a Nissan when another car pulled up alongside of them and someone opened fire, police have said.

The Nissan stopped at Felicity and Tchoupitoulas streets, and McCormick’s body was found on the sidewalk a few paces away from the car.

Police took the other two men into custody for questioning.

A short time later a man with a gunshot wound to his hand arrived at a local hospital.

Police believe he was in the car that fired at the Nissan.

Police found the car they believe to be the one involved in the shooting at Delachaise and Coliseum streets.

Police have not announced any arrests in the case.

Warrant issued for man in River Ridge murder

Jefferson Parish sheriff’s investigators have named a suspect in the shooting death of a 22-year-old man Monday evening in River Ridge.

Detectives allege Samuel Cooks, 20, of New Orleans, killed Ryan Easly in front of a home in the 1100 block of South Upland Avenue.

A warrant for second-degree murder has been obtained for Cooks, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Glen Boyd said.

Anyone with information on Cooks’ whereabouts is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office’s Investigations Bureau at (504) 364-5300 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

Marijuana plants found; deputies arrest man

Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested a 62-year-old man Tuesday after finding 38 marijuana plants and 129 grams of marijuana in his home.

Josh Washington, 156 Ren Copas Court, Jefferson, was booked into Jefferson Parish Correctional Center on one count each of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and cultivation of marijuana, sheriff’s Col. John Fortunato said.

The 911 center received a call Tuesday about a man named “Josh” growing and selling marijuana at 156 Ren Copas, Fortunato said. When deputies arrived, they noticed a marijuana plant growing in a pot in the front shrubs.

Washington answered when deputies knocked on his door and allowed them to search the house, Fortunato said.

Besides the plants — some 5 feet tall — and marijuana in containers, deputies also found plant food, digital scales and a grow light, Fortunato said.

Tulane student robbed walking on State Street

Tulane University has asked the Police Department to increase patrols on State Street near its Uptown campus after a student was robbed early Wednesday morning.

According to a campus crime alert, the student was walking north in the 2100 block of State Street about 1:10 a.m. when a man wearing a ski mask walked up and pushed the student to the ground.

The man had one hand under his shirt, leading the student to believe he had a weapon, took the student’s purse and ran south on State Street, Tulane police said.

The man is described as being 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9 with a heavy build and dark complexion.

He wore a white ski mask and blue jeans, Tulane police said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

St. John authorities ID man killed Saturday

A 19-year-old Kenner man has been identified as a victim of a homicide during the weekend in Reserve.

St. John the Baptist Parish deputies received a call at 8:25 a.m. about an unresponsive man on the ground near a set train tracks at East 16th Street. Meshach Mason, who lived in Reserve before moving to Kenner, died from a gunshot wound, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Investigators have not released any information on a suspect or motive in Mason’s death.

Mason was the 13th homicide victim in the parish this year.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office’s tip line at (985) 359-8477 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

Police recover Corvette from Bayou St. John

New Orleans police pulled a car from Bayou St. John early Wednesday, but found no one inside of it.

Police reported the car in the water between Esplanade Avenue and DeSaix Boulevard a little after 5:30 a.m.

A witness told police he saw a man get out of the Corvette and run away once it went into the bayou, said Officer Garry Flot, a Police Department spokesman.

Detectives later found the man and spoke with him.

An investigation is ongoing, Flot said.

St. Tammany authorities arrest 2 in copper theft

Investigators with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Slidell Police Department made two arrests Monday in connection with a series of copper tubing and coil thefts from air conditioning units in the Slidell area.

The Sheriff’s Office has received complaints from a dozen homeowners since late July reporting their residential air-conditioning units were vandalized and internal coils and copper tubing stolen, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Slidell police began receiving similar complaints in mid-August.

Most of the homes were for sale and/or vacant at the time of the thefts.

Investigators with both agencies began working together late last week, concentrating on two suspects the Sheriff’s Office identified through an anonymous tip: Trenadad Armstead, 19, and Charles Dufrene, 18, two stepbrothers from Slidell.

Sheriff’s Office investigators obtained a search warrant for Dufrene’s vehicle and during a search of it Monday found copper coil tubes, several tools and a workman’s style reflective vest, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.

Dufrene and Armstead were brought to the Sheriff’s Office for questioning, but neither fully cooperated, the Sheriff’s Office said.

They were arrested and booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail on Monday for the 12 thefts reported outside the city. Slidell police investigators interviewed the men Wednesday and are booking them with eight additional counts of theft as well.

Their bail has been set at $60,000 apiece for the thefts outside the city.

Two firefighter accused of Bayou Sauvage fires

Two men employed as New Orleans firefighters were charged Wednesday in federal court with setting fires at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans East.

Ryan Burlett, 34, and Damien Burlett, 39, set the fires Feb. 9, prosecutors allege.

A pilot with the state Department of Agriculture spotted a plume of smoke while on aerial patrol over Slidell and flew to the refuge to find a burning marsh patch.

The pilot saw two men in a boat speeding from the area and set two more fires on marsh patches within the refuge, according to U.S. Attorney Dana Boente’s office.

The men docked behind a home in Venetian Isles.

The pilot turned over photographs of the men to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

Investigators were able to identify the men as the Burlett brothers and interviewed them at Engine House No. 31, where they worked as firefighters, Boente’s office said.

The men admitted they were the people in the photographs, Boente’s office said.

Each man faces a maximum prison sentence of one year and a fine of $100,000.

Compiled by the New Orleans bureau