Ponchatoula man indicted in fatal shooting

A Tangipahoa Parish grand jury has indicted an 18-year-old man in the fatal shooting of a 39-year-old woman that led to a two-day search and a lockdown at Ponchatoula High School.

Ryan Pourciau, of Ponchatoula, was charged Monday with one count of second-degree murder, according to the District Attorney’s Office. He is scheduled for arraignment June 27.

Tangipahoa sheriff’s deputies arrested Pourciau on April 24 in the slaying of April Vanderlinden, of Ponchatoula. His arrest came a day after Vanderlinden was found shot in the backyard of her Brookfield Drive. She later died at a hospital.

Deputies shot and wounded Pourciau, a student at Ponchatoula High, at Vanderlinden’s home after a search that included helicopters and dogs, Sheriff Daniel Edwards has said.

Pourciau was hiding under a bed in Vanderlinden’s home when Vanderlinden’s family returned to the house and found a bulletproof vest belonging to Pourciau, Edwards has said.

Ponchatoula High School, which is close to the scene of Vanderlinden’s death, was put on lockdown for two days after the shooting and was guarded by armed sheriff’s deputies.

Authorities quickly declared Pourciau as a person of interest in the case and later obtained a warrant for his arrest. Authorities searched the area near the school for Pourciau with dogs and a helicopter equipped with heat-sensing equipment.

Court records show that Vanderlinden’s family had obtained a protective order prohibiting Pourciau from going within 500 feet of their home or communicating with Vanderlinden.

Authorities have said Pourciau had been accused of violating that order and that a warrant for his arrest was issued about a week before Vanderlinden’s death.

Dennis Pevey, chief deputy with the Sheriff’s Office, has said Pourciau was arrested in March on a pornography count involving a juvenile.

Pourciau remained in jail for several days before being released on a property bond, Pevey has said.

Pourciau is facing counts of simple assault, child pornography and violation of a protective order in addition to the second-degree murder charge, the District Attorney’s Office news release said.