Two men whom police said are brothers are behind bars in connection with the Tuesday night armed robbery of a Dollar General Store at 10600 Chef Menteur Highway.
A third suspect, who was 21, was shot to death at the scene. Two New Orleans police officers fired their weapons, but it was not immediately clear if any of the three suspects fired at officers, or even if they pointed a weapon at them.
The store was open for business Wednesday, but NOPD vehicles were in the parking lot. Workers declined to comment for this story, but there was a security guard inside.
"The officers encountered two armed gunmen who were seen exiting from the back of the building, and while we're still investigating who fired first - or even if any gunfire was exchanged at all - we do know that two of the officers did fire their weapons, fatally striking and killing one suspect," said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison during a Wednesday press conference.
He said the officers were wearing body cameras and there was also surveillance video that investigators reviewed. But during the press conference, Harrison could not say whether any of the three suspects actually pointed a weapon at the officers or fired off shots.
"That information is still being analyzed, and so we're analyzing that video. We believe that there's an object in the subject's hand, we're analyzing that," he said.
Harrison did not know how many shots were fired by the two officers, identified by the NOPD as Officers Clifford Thompson and Joshua Carthon. Thompson is a seven-year veteran and Carthon has six years on the police force. Both are on administrative reassignment pending the outcome of the investigation.
"The individual who is now deceased was found with a gun lying next to his body. This is another young man who lost his life when really, had he made different choices, it would have been different," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu who stood next to Harrison at the press conference.
The two jailed suspects were identified as Spencer Banks and Halbert Adams. Banks was apprehended at the crime scene and Harrison said he admitted his involvement in the robbery attempt.
"Banks confessed to his involvement in the incident and detectives learned that his brother, 23-year-old Halbert Adams, is the second gunman in this incident," he said.
Adams turned himself in Wednesday morning accompanied by his mother.
"This is a great example of a parent who understood what was necessary to keep her child out of harm's way.We were looking for the third individual, but this morning he was brought in my his mother, and as I've said many, many times, the violence in this city is not going to stop until all of us as a community take responsibility, families take responsibility," Landrieu said.
Police said given how the suspects handled employees at the store, it was a hostage situation.
"[They] confronted the employees as they were locking up and were leaving, and while they were armed, brought those employees back into the building," Harrison said.
Detectives located a bag with over $2,000 in stolen cash.
.Landrieu had nothing but praise for the officers who responded to the scene.
"They risked their lives, but they acted quickly. It was a very effective response to a very, very dangerous situation," he said.