NOPD arrests Waffle House armed robbery suspect shot by armed customer

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NEW ORLEANS — NOPD has arrested the man police say robbed a Waffle House on Elysian Fields at gunpoint and was shot by an armed customer.

According to NOPD, two suspects walked into Waffle House in the 2900 block of Elysian Fields Avenue just after 10 p.m. Thursday. One of them men jumped on the counter and demanded money from the cashier. He took $8 from a customer.

The second suspect, later identified as 19-year-old Ernest Thomas, stood on the side near the counter, covering staff and serving as a lookout.

As the first suspect approached a customer, the customer pulled out his personal firearm and drew his weapon. The first suspect ran out of the building, and Thomas turned and pointed his gun at the customer.

The customer fired several shots at Thomas, who fled from the restaurant. Witnesses observed the subjects flee in a white Chrysler south on Elysian Fields Avenue.

Detectives found a blood trail outside the business leading to the area where the waiting car had been parked. Detectives alerted local hospitals for any recent gunshot victims.

A short time later, detectives learned a man with several gunshot wounds to the back and arm had been dropped off on the emergency ramp at University Medical Center.

Detectives went to the hospital room where the shooting victim was and saw he matched the description of the armed robbery. Detectives also recovered the suspect’s bloody pants and sneakers.

Hospital security footage showed a white Chrysler pull on to the ramp at a high rate of speed and the suspect exiting the vehicle and walking into the emergency room.

The subject had been shot in the lower back, hip, and arm.

Detectives checked with NOPD dispatch there had been no reports of gunshots in the city for the time period.

The investigation remains open and active. More charges may be filed against Thomas, and the search for the second suspect continues.

Anyone with information is asked to contact any Third District detective at (504)-658-6030, or Crimestoppers at (504)-822-1111 or toll free at 1-877-903-7867.

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