2 suspects in custody, 2 others sought in brutal attack on tourists

2 suspects in custody, 2 others sought in brutal attack on tourists
Joshua Simmons, 18 (Source: NOPD)
Joshua Simmons, 18 (Source: NOPD)

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A tourist brutally attacked in the French Quarter remains in critical condition. Meanwhile, police search for two more suspects whom they say were involved in the robbery in the 200 block of Bienville Street Saturday just before 9 p.m.

The NOPD says their Violent Offender Warrant Squad, with the help of U.S. Marshals, are looking for Rashaad Piper and Nicholas Polgowski.

Surveillance video shows just how viscous the attack was as the two unsuspecting tourists from Boston are hit from behind then robbed by four men.

While one victim was treated and released from the hospital, prosecutors say the other is in grave condition and may not pull through. That's why they asked that two suspects who are now in custody be held without bond. The judge agreed.

"One could talk, the other is critical with an acute brain injury. He is somewhat improved, off the ventilator, breathing on his own but, he can't fully engage as we need so, he's improved but critical," said NOPD Superintendent, Michael Harrison.

The NOPD identifies the two suspects in custody as 21-year-old DeJuan Paul, whom police say was the main aggressor, and 18-year-old Joshua Simmons.

"We told you all along we knew their names, we knew who they were, and last night Joshua Simmons was arrested by the help of a citizen who alerted us to his location," said Harrison.

Paul and Simmons both face a charge of second-degree robbery, but prosecutors say that could be upgraded to homicide.

"I think that's a starting point for the D.A.'s office. I think they're also going to be charged with possibly attempted murder and possibly first-degree murder, unfortunately, if this gentleman doesn't pull through so there's just so many ways the D.A. can go with this charge. That that's the starting point, but it won't be the ending point," said Fox 8 legal analyst, Joe Raspanti.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the two other suspects who have not yet been located.

"You can't hide so you should turn yourselves in to us, we are waiting here at the 8th district to receive you," said Harrison.

We've learned both Paul and Simmons were living at Covenant House in New Orleans.

In a statement, Covenant House Director Jim Kelly said:

"Covenant House cares for runaways 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." 

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