NOPD: hard work, video, Crimestoppers tip brought Bienville St. attackers to justice

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NEW ORLEANS - A combination of undercover work by plainclothes detectives and a tip from Crimestoppers brought the third and fourth suspects wanted in a brutal Bienville Street attack and robbery to justice.

NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison and Eighth District Commander Nicholas Gernon announced the arrest of 17-year-old Nicholas Pogozelski and 20-year-old Rashaad Piper at a press conference this morning.

“We made a promise to you, we’ve kept that promise, and now we have delivered on that promise,” Harrison said. “The final two suspects who we had warrants on yesterday are now in custody.”

Harrison said the officers of the Eighth District worked diligently and proactively to bring all four men to justice.

“Last night, members of our plainclothes unit were out on patrol looking for these individuals, along with every other member of the Eighth District,” Gernon said. “They located Rashaad Piper at a business in the 800 block of Conti Street. They took him into custody without incident, and he was arrested and booked into lockup.”

The violent offender warrant squad caught up to Pogozelski early this morning after receiving a Crimestoppers tip, Gernon said.

“Acting on that tip from the tipster, they were able to locate him, arrest him, and he was also taken into custody without incident,” Gernon said. “All four of the individuals who we believe are responsible for this crime are in fact in custody right now, and it was based on the hard work of the detectives here in conjunction with our VOWS unit and a lot of help from the public coming forward and giving us the information we really needed to put this case to bed.”

Eighteen-year-old Joshua Simmons surrendered on June 27, and 21-year-old Dejean Paul turned himself in on June 26.

All four are charged with second degree assault in the attack on two tourists in town for a Unitarian Universalist Association conference.

One of the men who was attacked suffered acute brain damage and has yet to be released from the hospital.

Video played a key role in identifying and locating the suspects, Harrison said, and that is a trend he expects to see continue.

“This is the value of video, and this is what’s coming to the entire city,” Harrison said. “We want to have video in 20 different hotspots around the city, license plate readers, and we’ll have a number of tools in our toolbox to help us identify people and solve crimes just like we did with this one.”