Wounded NOPD officer making progress - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Wounded NOPD officer making progress

Officer John Passaro Officer John Passaro

New Orleans, La. - Mayor Mitch Landrieu calls the shooting of Officer John Passaro awful. The three-year veteran of the NOPD is still in intensive care after being ambushed over the weekend.

"One of our 5th District officers [was] responding to a disturbance call at the Dollar General. Not long after entering the store he was attacked and ambushed by a young man with a gun," says NOPS Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

The NOPD released surveillance pictures of the suspect.

Police say, just after the Dollar General on Poland Avenue opened its doors Saturday morning, a lone gunman went in to rob the store.  Minutes later, Officer Passaro arrived on the scene to investigate.  The gunman shot him several times.

"Again, it raises the bar of the level of violence and it has to stop and we have to find the shooter.  It's critically important that people know that we can't allow this to happen in the city of New Orleans," says Mayor Landrieu.

Officer Passaro was alone when he entered the store and was shot.  Organizations that represent men and women in uniform are once again voicing their concerns about NOPD's one-man patrols.

"We're now working in an environment where we don't have any two-man cars and we have to rely on two officers to show up at the same time," says Mike Glasser of PANO.

"A lot of officers are very concerned about this. They are concerned about the manpower issue and what's being done about that. They're very concerned that they don't have enough officers on the street to back them up," says Raymond Burkart III, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police

Mayor Landrieu says one-man units are common across the country. 

"That's the not the reason this happened. The reason this happened is because you have a bad guy that didn't value life and didn't care about anybody else and put everybody in that store at risk and this officer," says Mayor Landrieu.

Landrieu believes the shooting of an NOPD officer speaks volumes about the level of extreme violence facing the city.

"People can make this about one car or two cars. They can make it about a lot of stuff but it really is about the culture of violence we have in this city. We have to dig down deep. All of us have to do so and that's why we have the NOLA for Life  plan. If we all point in the same direction, we can make this community safe," says Mayor Landrieu

Officer Passaro is said to be in good spirits and making progress in his recovery.

The search continues for the shooter.  After interviewing several witnesses, police say he used a semi-automatic handgun to shoot the officer.

Crimestoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the gunman. If you know anything about this case, please call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.

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