NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Eugene Theriot has worked at Gene's Po-Boys since he was a kid. Now owner, he is thankful, his friend and NOPD Officer Jonathan Smith survived a shooting outside his shop in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
“The first thing I thought about was how is Jonathan, and is he worse that wounded,” says Theriot.
Officer Smith was working a paid detail outside Gene's Po-Boys when reports show he was ambushed by two men who rounded Elysian Fields onto St. Claude Avenue and opened fire. Officer smith was in uniform, but police say he was not wearing his bullet proof vest. The incident was caught on camera.
“One of those guns looked about the size of your forearm,” describes Theriot.
Police say Officer Smith was shot multiples times. He now has a broken femur and a bullet lodged in his spine, yet despite being down an arrest warrant shows he fired eight rounds and may have hit both suspects.
“When he was lying on the ground he was still telling people, had enough where with all to tell people, to go inside, he's got it he's under control,” says Theriot.
Hours after the shooting police arrested 34-year-old Cornelius Barthelemy, booking him with Attempted First Degree Murder of a Policeman and First Degree Murder. They say his accomplice 36-year-old Caesar Adams, who was caught on surveillance cameras moments before and after the shooting in a striped shirt, died of his injuries and was left behind in an SUV that was found in Gretna with Adams inside. According to the arrest warrant 26-year-old James Wilson is the getaway driver. He's also been booked with Attempted First Degree Murder of a Policeman and First Degree Murder.
Police tell a first degree murder charge can be brought against both men because they are involved in the incident that led to someone’s death.
Right now the motive is under investigation. Some say it may have been a robbery attempt gone wrong.
As for Officer Smith Eugene tells WGNO News he is in good spirits despite having a long road to recovery and still being in the hospital.