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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — In the high-profile incident from last week, a woman was seriously injured after a carjacking at the Cotsco on Carrollton Ave.

Police say 18-year-old Tyrese Harris was the perpetrator of that crime, and he’s been charged with the murder of 12-year-old Derrick Cash in New Orleans East last month.

In the late morning of January 3, Cash was found with multiple gunshot wounds on Michoud Boulevard. He died shortly after police arrived.

Harris was also arrested for armed robbery and released late last year after the district attorney failed to prosecute him.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell responded to questioning about Harris today, “This individual is someone that has offended previously in the city of New Orleans, both as a juvenile and as an adult. I’ve personally worked with the family here to try to steer this individual into a different pathway.”

According to District E Councilman Oliver Thomas, “There can’t be anymore excuses. Whether it’s the police department, the DA, the judges, magistrate court, bonds, especially when violent offenders have that level of history.”

Harris’ arrest is certainly a relief for those that he may have victimized but his case has certainly fueled the uneasiness about the violent crime and the system that deals with it in the city.

Part-time NOLA Resident Jennifer Duxstad stated, “I’m not letting it prevent me from doing things but I’m being very aware of what I’m doing and what’s going on and where I’m at.”

Some of the folks we spoke with today say that locking up criminals doesn’t seem to be making us any safer.

According to resident Virgil Walters, “If anything I don’t think that prison is really rehabilitating people. It doesn’t seem like that happens.”

Last week a lot of the violent crime conversation was centered around crime-fighting proposals from various agencies, but Councilman Oliver Thomas says there should be a plan for responsibility for all of us.

“Everybody wants to help give the chief a plan, the council a plan, the mayor a plan, the DA a plan. If you have a plan for your family, for your child, for your community, everybody else doesn’t have to have a plan,” said Thomas.

Regarding Harris not being prosecuted in the robbery he was charged with in 2021, The Orleans District Attorney’s Office sent WGNO this statement:

“As a prosecutor’s office, we have a responsibility to only move forward with cases that have enough facts and evidence available to secure a conviction in court. Between April 2021 and Jan 2022, the DA’s office has accepted over 900 cases for felony offenses, including 71% of robbery cases, and are moving these cases to trial posture to secure convictions. So, there is no hesitation by the DA’s office to accept cases and vigorously prosecute when we have the required evidence to do so. In the previous matter involving Harris, we were unable to accept charges on all counts due to an initial decision by the victim of the robbery not to participate in the post-arrest investigation. We support our victims and their wishes. We understand that victims have been traumatized in these cases; our goal is never to re-traumatize them. Nonetheless, victim and witness testimony is often the lifeline of a case and, without it, we are often unable to move forward with charges. However, if a victim or witness chooses not to testify, we certainly respect their decision, and we work hard with the police, our investigators and lawyers to try and secure other evidence needed. As is clear by court records, our office did move forward with charging Harris with crimes that did not require this victim’s testimony. Our office will not stop until Harris is held accountable.”