NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said Friday that they've linked a man who was killed by a New Orleans police officer last month to a series of armed robberies. That news came on the same day that the sheriff announced the parish's lowest crime rate in more than 40 years.
Investigators said 33-year-old Calvin McKinnis is responsible for five armed robberies and four attempted armed robberies in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, including three that were committed on the same day. In the early morning hours of Dec. 1, shots were fired at a McDonalds in New Orleans and another in Jefferson Parish. Just 90 minutes, later Academy Sports on Clearview Parkway was also fired at and robbed. Deputies said they've linked McKinnis to those crimes.
"In several of the incidents that occurred both here in Jefferson Parish and in New Orleans, this particular suspect tried to gain entrance into the money room of several Walmarts. He would fire rounds into the doors and try to make way to get into the area where the money was," said JPSO spokesman Col. John Fortunato.
Just two weeks after those armed robberies, McKinnis died in an exchange of gunfire with an NOPD police officer on Chef Menteur Highway. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said shell casings recovered from the robbery scenes matched the 9mm that they say McKinnis used to fire at the NOPD officer, as well a 12-gauge shotgun that was found in McKinnis' car.
"We're confident at this point, in conjunction with NOPD, we've put all the facts together, the method of operation used, clothing description provided by the victims, clothing that we recovered during the results of a search warrant and a lot of other physical evidence, that McKinnis was responsible for the ones that occurred here in Jefferson Parish as well as the ones that occurred in Orleans Parish," Fortunato said.
Sheriff Newell Normand said the parish in 2015 had the lowest crime rate since 1974. There were 27 murders - the fewest in 16 years. There have been arrests in 19 of those cases, and crime was down in every category except assault.
"We in this community have a habit of trying to resolve conflict by beating people, shooting at people, engaging in fistic encounters and things of that nature. Which continues to be an issue for us," Normand said.