NOPD officer still hospitalized; 1 suspect dead, 2 in custody for shooting

Officer Jonathan Smith and his sister Jean Smith, both assigned to Fifth District (Source: NOPD)
Officer Jonathan Smith and his sister Jean Smith, both assigned to Fifth District (Source: NOPD)

One suspect is dead and two others are in custody following a shootout with an NOPD officer. The shooting took place Sunday around 1:40 a.m. near the corner of Elysian Fields and Saint Claude Avenues.

According to police, 34-year-old Cornelius Barthelemy was arrested Sunday morning. Barthelemy was one of three men involved in the shooting of NOPD Officer Jonathan Smith.

Police say Smith, who was working detail, was sitting in his police car when two of the three approached the car and opened fire, striking Smith. He returned fire and struck both men who escaped in an SUV, driven by a third man. Smith was transported to a local hospital where he is listed in stable condition.

A second suspect, 26-year-old James Wilson, turned himself in Monday to the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office.

An NOPD spokesperson says that around 8:00 a.m. Sunday, Gretna Police responded to a call of a dead body inside of a white SUV, located in the 900 block of Gretna Boulevard. The NOPD and members of the FBI New Orleans also responded to the scene where authorities found a deceased man with a gunshot wound to the torso in the vehicle.

"They located a vehicle that fit the suspect vehicle description in New Orleans," said Gretna Police Chief Anthony Christiana. "Seeing a large amount of blood, they looked in that vehicle to make sure no one was injured - and discovered the body of a second African-American male."

Police say that Barthelemy was also found on scene, suffering from a gunshot wound to the torso. He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated. During treatment, he was shown surveillance photos of the scene where Smith was shot and admitted that he and the deceased man were two of the three men involved. He also said that the deceased suspect goes by the nickname "Caesar" and the third man goes by the nickname "Renegade". Police are still searching for "Renegade". Barthelemy was transported to jail where he will be booked with attempted first degree murder.

"With the help of our partner law enforcement agencies and the public, we've apprehended two of the three individuals believed to be responsible for this incident in less than 24 hours," said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. "We are still working to arrest the third suspect and I continue to urge anyone who has any information that would lead to his arrest to come forward immediately."

Police are waiting for results from DNA and ballistics tests.

If you have any information that could help police with this case, you are asked to call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.

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