New Orleans police and fire briefs for Dec. 15, 2012

Woman, child die in St. Charles house fire

A 54-year-old woman and her 3-year-old granddaughter died during a fire early Friday morning in this small community on the west bank of St. Charles Parish, the state Fire Marshal’s office said.

Firefighters called to a home at 156 Killona Drive about 7:30 a.m. to respond to reports of an unresponsive women found at the home on fire upon their arrival, according to a news release from the Fire Marshal’s office.

Once they were able to put out the flames they found the woman and child dead inside.

Catherine Isaac and Kamri Ferria, the granddaughter, were asleep in the master bedroom when the fire began. Investigators said the fire started in a corner of the bedroom near a number of electronic devices, though a cause remained unknown Friday evening.

Autopsies to determine the exact cause of death are pending.

The Fire Marshal’s Office said there were no smoke detectors in the house.

Investigators probe fire that killed 2 dogs

Fire investigators are trying to figure out what caused a Crestwood subdivision home to burn, killing two dogs early Friday morning.

St. Tammany Fire Protection District 12 was called to the home at 533 Bentwood Drive about 2:11 a.m. When they arrived on the scene, more than 50 percent of the home was engulfed.

Seventeen firefighters from Districts 12, 2 and 4 worked until 4:32 a.m. to get the fire under control.

No one was home when the fire started, but the two dogs died in the fire.

Man shot during scuffle in east N.O.

A 22-year-old man was recovering Friday after he was shot the night before in eastern New Orleans, police said.

The shooting happened about 7 p.m. in the 6800 block of Parc Brittany Boulevard.

Police said the victim was standing outside when two men walked up. One of the men pulled out a gun and pistol-whipped the victim, who tried to wrestle away the gun from the man, who fired one shot.

The victim realized he was hit and tried to run away but was hit again twice.

Police did not provide a description of the gunman.

Man robbed Friday on Canal Street

A man was shoved to the ground early Friday and robbed at gunpoint, police said.

The 35-year-old victim was standing in the 2400 block of Canal Street about 5:30 a.m. when the robber walked up, shoved the victim to the ground and began to rummage through his pockets, police said.

The robber got away with the victim’s cellphone and cash. Police did not provide a description of the robber.

Man shot walking
on Waggaman street

A man was shot while he walked down a street in Avondale early Friday, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

The victim told investigators he was in the 300 block of Coretta Drive when someone shot him at about 8:15 a.m. The victim would not give any other information to investigators, said Col. John Fortunato, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

No other information was immediately available.

Authorities identify victims of slayings

New Orleans — The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office released the identities Thursday of two victims of fatal shootings this week.

Chief Investigator John Gagliano identified Morris Smith, 28, as the man found by New Orleans police fatally shot in the 8900 block of Olive Street on Wednesday afternoon. Smith was found with multiple gunshots wounds and died on the scene.

Gagliano also identified Allen Johnson, 54, as the man killed in the 1800 block of Music Street on Monday night. Johnson was discovered by officers on patrol after they investigated gunshots in the area. No motive or suspects have been released in either case.

Man killed in accident identified

New Orleans — A 23-year-old man who was killed in an accident that also cost another man his leg was identified by the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office on Thursday.

Patrick Cordova died from injuries he received in an accident at Robert E. Lee Boulevard and Paris Avenue. Cordova was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Brittany Sanders, 23, who has since been booked with negligent homicide. Sanders remains in custody in lieu of $20,000 bond. Police say the accident occurred after Sanders tried to flee during a traffic stop.

Mandeville woman pleads guilty to fraud

New Orleans — A Mandeville accountant is facing up to 25 years in federal prison after she admitted to stealing from a New Orleans company.

Melody Huie, 55, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and tax evasion after federal prosecutors say she used a fellow employee’s security information to conduct fraudulent wire transfers. Huie managed to steal more than $1.3 million over five years from the company and used the scheme 114 times. She also failed to pay taxes on her stolen income.

Man wounded
in drive-by shooting

New Orleans — Police are investigating a drive-by shooting in eastern New Orleans that left one man wounded Wednesday evening.

The incident was reported at about 6:21 p.m. in the 8300 block of Lomond Road. The 22-year-old victim said he was standing on a balcony when a black vehicle drove by and the occupants opened fire. The man was wounded in the ribs and leg.

Fire caused by space heater destroys home

New Orleans — A fire that destroyed an Uptown duplex was caused by a space heater that burned through a bedroom floor.

Roughly 43 firefighters fought the blaze in the 2500 block of Freret Street on Thursday morning. No injuries were reported, although a woman was home in one of the units when the fire began. Another resident told firefighters a heater had been left on by a woman who had left for work.

Couple arrested after fight involving gun

Gretna — Gretna police arrested a Meraux couple on Wednesday after authorities say they fought with the man’s ex-girlfriend and her mother in front of a Gretna beauty salon.

Timothy Allen, 27, and Gloria Calhoun, 22, were arrested at 55 West Bank Expressway shortly after 5 p.m., Gretna Deputy Chief Anthony Christiana said. He said it appears Allen confronted his ex-girlfriend at the location while the woman was loading two children into a vehicle.

The ex-girlfriend’s mother also was on the scene, and Allen apparently punched her, Christiana said. Calhoun then pulled out a gun that she began waving around, before the couple fled the scene, police said.

Allen was arrested a short time later after police began searching for his vehicle. He was booked with domestic abuse battery, simple battery and disturbing the peace.

Calhoun was booked with threatening a public official, resisting arrest, aggravated assault and disturbing the peace. Christiana said Calhoun threatened the officer who made the arrest.

Man accused of carjacking is booked

New Orleans — One of four men accused of robbing an Algiers man and then engaging in a high-speed chase in Lafourche Parish was booked with armed robbery in New Orleans on Wednesday.

Willie Carey Smith, 23, was booked into Orleans Parish Prison after initially being arrested by the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office in October. Smith was arrested with Fred Jones, 23; Kurwin Webb, 19; and Oren Javentay, 20, after a high-speed chase in a stolen Camaro. New Orleans police say the four men carjacked a man at an apartment complex on Tullis Drive.

Oil company faces $700,000 fine

New Orleans — An oil company with offices in Texas and New Orleans is accused of illegally discharging oil and grease into the Gulf of Mexico and then trying to hide the violation.

W&T Offshore Inc., was charged Thursday with tampering with, falsifying or rendering inaccurate a monitoring method required to be maintained under the Clean Water Act, and one misdemeanor count for negligent discharge of oil in federal waters on Thursday.

Federal prosecutors say that at least six times in 2009 the company lied about discharges during its operations.

The company faces up to a $700,000 fine from the two charges if convicted.

Woman, 42, charged with embezzlement

Metairie — Federal prosecutors have charged a Covington woman with embezzlement after authorities claim she stole more than $189,000 from a Metairie dentist.

Kelly Muller, 42, was indicted with embezzlement by U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente’s office Thursday. According to the indictment, Muller is accused of stealing from a dentist’s office where she served as bookkeeper and office manager.

The thefts allegedly occurred from 2008 to 2010.

Prosecutors say Muller added additional funds to her paycheck and used a credit card for personal expenses.

She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted.

Compiled by
the New Orleans bureau