Coroner Identifies 2 Victims Killed by Man Who Later Died in Police Shootout in Louisiana

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
July 21, 2023USshare
Coroner Identifies 2 Victims Killed by Man Who Later Died in Police Shootout in Louisiana
Law enforcement officers work at the St. Germain Apartments in the 2200 block of Manhattan Boulevard in Harvey, La., on July 17, 2023. (Brett Duke/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

HARVEY, La.—Louisiana authorities have identified the former shipyard worker who was killed in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies Monday, and the two ex-coworkers the man had gunned down hours before he was killed.

The suspect killed Monday afternoon at an apartment complex in suburban New Orleans was Willis Thomas, 31, of Harvey, Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich, the Jefferson Parish coroner, told New Orleans news outlets.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said deputies tracked Mr. Thomas to his apartment a couple of hours after he killed two of his former coworkers, identified by Dr. Cvitanovich as Nakie James Brown, 48, and Dustin Parrie Jr., 20, at FMT Shipyard.

It remains unclear why Mr. Thomas had been fired at the shipyard or why he shot the two men.

Mr. Thomas was tracked to the apartment after deputies received information about a car he left the scene in. The car turned out to belong to the suspect’s mother, who had picked him up when he called her from the shipyard, Mr. Lopinto said. The woman, who did not know about the shooting, was later stopped by deputies who spotted the car.

“She said she had just picked him up and brought him to an apartment here,” Mr. Lopinto said during a news conference at the complex.

Upon seeing the deputies, Mr. Lopinto said, Mr. Thomas fled and fired at them, and several deputies returned fire. Mr. Thomas was declared dead at the scene.

Nobody else was hurt at the shipyard or during the gunfire exchange with the suspect, although bullets did hit apartments. “We have checked those apartments. Nobody else was hurt,” Mr. Lopinto said.

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