Suspect in volunteer’s death investigated in later case
The man arrested Thursday in the April slaying of 18-year-old AmeriCorps volunteer Joseph Massenburg may be linked to a more recent slaying in the Pigeon Town area, according to New Orleans police.
Glen Emerson, 18, was arrested at a New Orleans East apartment complex after police investigating the second killing received a tip from an anonymous person. Inside the apartment where Emerson was arrested, police found two handguns — a loaded Glock 9 mm pistol and a .32-caliber revolver, according to the NOPD.
A car that a witness saw speeding away from the second murder scene was parked in front of the apartment complex where police found Emerson.
The second murder occurred June 21 in the 1400 block of Eagle Street — a block from where Massenburg was shot dead April 1. The victim in that case has been identified as Ricky Johnson, 33, according to John Gagliano, chief investigator for the coroner’s office.
Police recovered 9 mm bullet casings from both of the murder scenes.
State Police will test the guns recovered from the New Orleans East apartment for DNA and fingerprints. After that, ballistics tests will be performed to determine whether either of the guns was used in the slayings, the NOPD said.
After the June 21 murder, police said they were looking for tips about a Honda CRV that was seen speeding away from the scene. That car, with a license plate WWE 919, had been reported stolen from the 1300 block of Dufossat Street a week earlier.
The CRV was parked outside the apartment complex in the 6900 block of Morrison Road where Emerson was apprehended Thursday. A stolen white Lexus SUV was also parked there, police said.
NOLA.com reported Friday that police believe Emerson is a member of a violent street gang called the Mid-City Killers that had a bitter rivalry with a Pigeon Town-based gang called the Hot Glocks. Police believe Massenburg was killed in a case of mistaken identity, the website reported, citing court records.
When Emerson was arrested, two other people, both of whom had loaded pistols, were in the apartment with him. Both of them were arrested.
Dwayne Miller, 22, was booked with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has previous arrests for the same charge, as well as illegal possession of a firearm, possession of Valium and possession of stolen property, police said. He has a pending charge of possession of a stolen vehicle, court records show.
The second person in the apartment, a 16-year-old, was booked into the Juvenile Bureau with illegal possession of a firearm by a juvenile, police said.
Emerson tried to escape the apartment through a window, but police captured him without incident, the NOPD said. Emerson, who police do not believe was the triggerman in either of the two Pigeon Town slayings, was booked with second-degree murder.
Police said the gunman in both of the slayings is still at large and the investigation is ongoing.
Massenburg’s father, Chicago pastor Andre Massenburg, said Friday that he was “elated, happy, glad” that one of his son’s suspected killers had been caught.
“It’s a great day for the home team,” he said. “One down, one to go. While I believe he’s not the one that pulled the trigger, he was still greatly involved in the death of my son and he still has a price to pay.”
The senior Massenburg said that he initially wondered whether Emerson was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the links between Emerson and a second killing make him doubt that.
“I was thinking Mr. Emerson was just a driver, maybe, not a murderer ... not a bad guy, so to speak, just a guy involved with bad people,” he said. “Now, I’m thinking maybe he isn’t as innocent as I thought he might be ... this guy is probably a cold-blooded killer.”
Massenburg said he was heartened that a person’s tips helped lead to Emerson’s arrests.
“What spoke loudly to me when I got the details and read some of the articles is that the community spoke up and they told the truth,” he said.
“They said, ‘Hey, there’s a killer in the neighborhood, someone who’s perpetrating injustice.’ So that was a great day when the community stood up for justice.”