2 men accused in crime spree, chase across several parishes

LAPLACE, LA (WVUE) - Surveillance video shows the terrifying moments at a Laplace convenience store at around 4 a.m. Sunday.

Two armed, masked men stormed into the business and pistol-whipped one of the workers before ripping off the cash register.

Tuesday, employees at the store said emotions were still running high.

"[My coworkers are] kind of shook up right now. They're really shook up," said Jason Yusef, who wasn't on duty at the time of the attack.

According to investigators, the armed robbery was part of a string of violence that stretched from New Orleans East to St. John Parish - and possibly further - in a period of a few hours. Authorities say two men carried out the attacks.

Kenneth Hayes III, 17, is now in custody, but police are still searching for the other, unidentified man.

"It sounds like a crime spree," said St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre. "A 17-year-old with this level of violence is very concerning and disturbing."

According to Tregre, the violence began with a carjacking in New Orleans East on Sunday at about 1 a.m.. Tregre said the suspects may have also committed an armed robbery in another parish west of St. John before the attack in Laplace.

Within minutes of the Laplace robbery, deputies spotted the two in the stolen Jeep - kicking off a high-speed chase that ended with a series of crashes in Jefferson Parish.

"The vehicle was traveling in excess of 114 miles per hour. The assisting agencies then joined the pursuit in an attempt to stop the perpetrators. The suspects crashed into a civilian vehicle and then crashed into a Jefferson Parish marked unit," Tregre said.

Investigators said the Jeep flipped, and officers quickly caught Hayes. But the other man got away. Authorities across the metro area are working together to try to identify him.

"The passenger managed to escape with the backpack. We believe he had the two guns in the backpack," Tregre said. "We need to identify this subject. We need him off the street."

Tregre said no one was seriously injured in any of the attacks or the series of crashes.

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