Roller Derby practice derailed by young armed robbers at Crescent Park

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 4:45 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The head coach of a New Orleans roller derby team jumped into action when the mother of one of her players was robbed at gunpoint.

“I had never ripped off my skates so fast in my life,” says Crystal Hayes, head coach of the Crescent City Crushers.

Hayes says the woman was dropping her daughter off at practice when a young gunman jumped in her vehicle in the parking lot outside of Crescent Park, put a gun to her stomach, and asked for her belongings. The woman complied, even giving up her car keys.

“So, I see this kid running across with tears everywhere and holding on to her friend. She said he put a gun to her stomach. ‘I need help. Someone help,’” says Hayes. “And when she looked at him, it was a young kid. That’s when the shock happened. She just didn’t know what to say.”

Hayes says when she hurried to the parking lot, the gunman jumped into a getaway car driven by someone else and took off. She says they came back a few minutes later, possibly to steal the woman’s car.

“The kid signaled to the driver, like ‘go!’ And they turned the corner and took off,” says Hayes.

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Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission says it’s important to start tracking the number of juveniles arrested for violent crimes, something he says his office is working on.

“The only way to get a handle on the juvenile crime is to arrest the violent offenders that are committing these armed robberies,” says Goyeneche.

In the past 48 hours, the NOPD investigated six shootings and 10 armed robberies. Goyeneche says despite the weekend crime, robberies were slightly down from September.

“I’m not ready to call three weeks of a redeployment a trend, but it’s trending in the right direction,” says Goyeneche.

He points out the police department is doing things differently, and while the early signs are promising, there’s still a lot of work to do.

He says, hopefully, a focus will be on juvenile offenders.

“The juvenile offenders are as dangerous or even more dangerous than some of the adults,” says Goyeneche.

Coach Hayes says the Crescent City Crushers will move practice over to City Park for the time being.

“Until things are more comfortable and we can get some sort of patrols out here,” says Hayes.

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