NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A court hearing was held Tuesday for two suspects now in custody in connection with a brutal French Quarter beating that sent two tourists to the hospital.
New Orleans police also issued arrest warrants for two more suspects in the incident that occurred Saturday at 9 p.m. in the 200 block of Bienville Street.
"Our warrant squad has been looking. We still have not found them," said NOPD Chief Michael Harrison.
Those suspects are identified as 20-year-old Rashaad Piper and 18-year-old Nicholas Polgowski.
Twenty-one-year-old Dejuan Paul and 18-year-old Joshua Simmons, both former residents of Covenant House, are already in custody. They sat side-by-side in magistrate court as a judge ordered them held without bond until another hearing on Friday, a move supported by the police chief.
"I do. This was a heinous act. It speaks to their propensity to do more, so I agree with that," said Harrison.
Prosecutors argued that tourist Tim Byrne, who was hit in the back of the head by attackers Saturday night, was in extremely critical condition, but the chief said there has been some physical improvement.
"He has somewhat improved, off the ventilator and breathing on his own, but he can't fully engage as we need. He's improved but still critical," said Harrison.
Paul turned himself in after visiting a pastor at Mount Kingdom Missionary Baptist Church Monday night. When he was arrested, he had two bags of a powdery white substance in his pocket and he also faces drug charges. Paul had an outstanding warrant for an out-of-state crime.
Covenant House Director Jim Kelly said that the two suspects in custody have mental issues. Kelly released the following statement:
"Covenant House cares for runaway and homeless youth - many of whom are troubled and suffer from mental illness. We are deeply saddened by the incident and are praying for the victims and their families."