Husband of WWOZ DJ Leslie Cooper shot during attempted home invasion, son says

Published: May. 24, 2022 at 8:45 AM CDT|Updated: May. 24, 2022 at 7:52 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Joe Cooper, husband of well-known WWOZ personality Leslie Cooper, was hospitalized in intensive care after being shot multiple times during an attempted home invasion of the couple’s residence in Gentilly, their son said Monday night (May 23) in a social media post.

“There was an attempted home invasion at my parents’ house,” Doyle Cooper posted. “While protecting my mom, my father was shot multiple times at his front door. He is currently in stable condition but is not out of the water yet. The disregard for life is honestly scary.”

Leslie Cooper, her familiar husky voice trembling, told reporters Tuesday that more must be done to contain the city’s spiraling violent crime.

“We need to take our city back,” she said. “Because we fought too hard after Katrina, and too hard after oil spills, and too hard after Ida for common criminals to run us away from home.”

New Orleans police provided scant details of the incident in a media bulletin issued Monday afternoon. The NOPD said it was investigating an “aggravated battery by shooting” reported at 3:53 p.m. in the 4400 block of St. Roch Avenue, and that a man was found “suffering from a gunshot wound.” But the department gave no indication that the victim had been shot multiple times in the course of trying to repel armed home invaders in the middle of a Monday afternoon.

Leslie Cooper said her husband was shot by someone who showed up at their door demanding a package that had been delivered to the home. After being told they had received no such package, the gunmen left, then returned later to repeat the demand. On the second confrontation, Joe Cooper was shot four times in the front doorway, according to his son’s post.

The NOPD made Third District Lt. Ernest Luster available to discuss the incident Tuesday at a noon press conference, which wound up raising more questions than were answered. Without elaborating, Luster said police had been told “two different stories” and said Leslie Cooper had not actually witnessed her husband’s shooting. He also said police were seeking a single suspect who was believed to have fled the scene in a white sedan, not multiple gunmen.

“We are currently investigating the case,” Luster said. “At this time, we have two different stories. (Leslie Cooper) didn’t actually witness the shooting, so we’re still looking into it. We have to interview the victim. He’s currently in stable condition. We wanted to give him a chance to rest and collect his thoughts before we interview him. We will be reaching out to him today.”

Leslie Cooper said her husband was hospitalized in serious condition, shot four times to the lungs and legs while trying to protect her and their home. The NOPD’s Luster mentioned only a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

“He opened the door and they tried to get into the house,” Leslie Cooper said. “They tried to rush into the house. He yelled at me, ‘Baby, get down!’ And said, ‘No, you are not coming in!’ He opened the door to try to push them out and we pushed them out. They pulled him, at which point I heard multiple gunshots.

“He was shot four times, trying to protect me over a missing package.”

Leslie Cooper has been a longtime radio personality on WWOZ, most recently hosting the Traditional Jazz show on Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-11 a.m.

Dozens of messages of concern poured in to Doyle Cooper’s posts from friends, family and the tight-knit New Orleans music community. Some attempted to organize a blood drive or donations in Joe Cooper’s name, while others expressed shock, love and support.

A spokesman for The Blood Center of New Orleans said anyone who wants to donate blood in honor of Cooper can visit one of three donor locations. They are:

  • Children’s Hospital, 200 Henry Clay Ave., State Street Conference Center, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Mid-City Community Blood Drive, St. Vincent’s Community Center, 3500 Canal St., Wednesday 11 a.m.-6 p..
  • Metairie Donor Center, 2617 Edenborn Ave., Metairie, by appointment (504) 249-4450

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