NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A 21-year-old man was shot to death during an armed robbery in New Orleans East. Two other suspects have been arrested for their involvement in the incident.
The armed robbery happened around 10 p.m. Tuesday at a New Orleans East Dollar General, located in the 10600 block of Chef Menteur Highway. Employees were closing the store for the night and leaving when they were forced back inside by the gunmen.
New Orleans police responded to the store after receiving reports of a robbery in progress. Officers say they surrounded the store and observed several individuals exiting the rear of the building.
A 21-year-old male suspect was shot in the chest, officers say. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers say a semi-automatic weapon was found near his body.
"We are still investigating who fired first, or even if there was gunfire exchanged," Superintendent Michael Harrison said. "Two of our officer did fire their weapons, fatally striking and killing one of the suspects."
The two officers who opened fire were Officer Clifton Thompson and Officer Joshua Carthon, according to NOPD. Thompson is a 7-year veteran of the NOPD and Carthon is a 6-year NOPD veteran. They are both on administrative reassignment pending the outcome of the investigation.
Harrison said casings were recovered from the back of store resembling those fired by a New Orleans police officer. Detectives also discovered a bag with more than $2,000 inside.
A second suspect was taken into custody Tuesday night. Police say he fled into a wooded area, but was quickly apprehended. A third suspect in the incident turned himself in on Wednesday morning.
The suspects in custody have been identified 23-year-old Spencer Banks and 23-year-old Halpert Adams. Police say Banks confessed to being involved in the incident and Adams, his brother, has been identified as the second gunman.
Banks and Adams will be charged with armed robbery. Police are trying to determine if the trio was involved in any other armed robberies in eastern New Orleans or anywhere else.
"There's surveillance video from the location. There's body-worn video from the officers cameras that we have to process throughout the rest of the morning. As we get those details we'll be more than happy to make that available to you," Harrison said. Harrison later said he personally watched the video, but he did not elaborate.
The NOPD Public Integrity Bureau is the lead investigative unit on the officers' role in the shooting. It remains open and ongoing, Harrison said.
New Orleans SWAT and Louisiana State Police also responded to the scene.
"As a city and community we need to do a better job of making these young guys turn away from the bad decisions they make," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. "We continue to make the case in this city that every life matters, and having an economic improvement strategy, making sure we have good police presence, making sure we have consequences to bad actions are all part of rising to the challenge of the difficulties forcing themselves through the cities of America."
A massive police presence remained on the scene for several hours following the incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact CRIMESTOPPERS at (504) 822-1111.