JPSO arrests man in Lamplighter Lounge robbery

Published: Jul. 28, 2016 at 7:40 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2016 at 8:46 PM CDT
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Person of interest (Source: JPSO)
Person of interest (Source: JPSO)

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - The Jefferson parish Sheriff's Office made an arrest Wednesday in the armed robbery of a Metairie bar.

Kevin Branche, 31, of New Orleans, was booked into Orleans Parish Prison as a fugitive from Jefferson Parish. He faces charges of armed robbery, being a felon in possession of a firearm and aggravated assault. He also faces weapons and drug charges in New Orleans.

On Wednesday (July 27) just after 4 a.m., deputies were called to the Lamplighter Lounge in the 900 block of Veterans Boulevard, where a gunman had demanded money from the bartender. The female victim complied by opening the register. The gunman, who was wearing a ski mask, took cash and fled out the front door of the bar.

Investigators said customers who were inside at the time all described the gunman as calm, speaking in a low tone and not making eye contact with any of the patrons during the robbery.

A 57-year-old Metairie man who was in the bar left during the robbery, went to his truck and got his gun. He then waited outside for the gunman to exit. When he did, the customer fired one round at him. The gunman didn't appear fazed and continued to run eastbound away from the bar.

The customer followed the gunman, and at one point he said the gunman pointed his weapon at him, prompting him to fire three more shots. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said the customer will not face charges.

"He has violated no parish ordinances nor any state statutes," Normand said. "He met force with appropriate force. Remember - Branche aimed a gun at him, and he returned fire, which is completely and totally appropriate under the existing state statute in the state of Louisiana, and therefore this individual will not be charged with anything."

Detectives learned that a person who went by the name "KK" was responsible for the robbery, and eventually identified him as Kevin Branche. Branche was found at the Greyhound bus terminal in New Orleans, where he was arrested.

After being processed in New Orleans, he will be taken to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.

The Sheriff's Office said Branche has a criminal history that includes arrests for possession of heroin, possession of crack cocaine, possession of a firearm and resisting arrest.

The Sheriff's Office also released a picture of a person of interest in the robbery, but they did not indicate why he was wanted or what, if anything, he may have had to do with the crime.

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