Suspect shot first in Upper 9th Ward encounter, police say _lowres

Albert Fountain

Police believe one of several fleeing suspects shot first before an officer returned fire and wounded Albert Fountain in the Upper 9th Ward last week.

But they still do not know whether Fountain himself was the shooter. Meanwhile, two additional suspects from the encounter remain on the loose.

Fountain, 32, was shot in the buttocks during the Oct. 11 exchange of gunfire in the 2200 block of Desire Street. Police say 5th District Officer Jacob Lundy shot at the three fleeing suspects six times after he came under fire.

Police had described Fountain’s injuries as minor, but on Thursday, he remained hospitalized. A magistrate judge waived his need to appear in person and ordered him held on $400,000 bail Thursday on counts of attempted murder of a police officer and illegal carrying of a weapon.

Lundy and another officer arrived at the house on Desire Street shortly after 3 p.m. in response to a call that a suspicious man was standing in the driveway with a gun, according to an arrest warrant sworn by Sgt. Regina Williams.

As the officers approached the house, one man started speaking to them, police said, and then another emerged and told them “no one was in the house.” But as officers approached the house, several men started fleeing out the rear door.

Lundy gave chase through the house, according to the warrant. When he exited the rear door, he “took fire from the group of unknown males.” Lundy then returned fire, police said, hitting Fountain once.

The two other suspects escaped on foot and remain at large.

The wounded Fountain, police said, was found lying on top of a semi-automatic handgun, and a loaded magazine was found nearby. He was handcuffed and taken to the hospital.

Fountain, whose address is listed on Pine Street in Slidell in an arrest register, was arrested in 2002 and 2005 and accused of stealing cars, although both charges were refused by the district attorney.

Police believe items found inside the Desire Street apartment may tie him or other suspects to a series of robberies in the NOPD’s 5th District, where recent victims were forced at gunpoint to hand over not only their wallets but their pants as well. NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble said police have not definitively linked any suspects on Desire Street to those robberies.

Gamble said Fountain was discharged from the hospital on Monday but that the Orleans Parish jail rejected him at intake for medical reasons. Fountain was discharged again on Tuesday, but the jail again refused to take him. Finally, said Gamble, the jail and the hospital worked out an agreement in which Fountain could be booked but would then immediately be returned to the hospital under deputies’ supervision.

In the interim, said Gamble, two police officers were tied up for two days watching over Fountain in the hospital.

Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Amy Barrios said she could not comment on Fountain’s condition because of medical privacy laws, but suggested that it was worse than what police have said.

“The fact of the matter is Mr. Fountain is still in the hospital,” said Barrios. “We would definitely not characterize Mr. Fountain’s injuries as minor. In fact, his injuries are to an extent that we cannot care for him in our facility.”

Police also booked Fountain’s father, Albert Johnson, on a count of illegal possession of a weapon on Oct. 11 after they said they found a revolver reported stolen in Slidell inside his apartment, which he rented. Johnson, who works as a cook in the French Quarter, remains in jail on $50,000 bond.

NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said last week that the exchange of gunfire was caught on Lundy’s officer-worn camera.

Lundy joined the force in 2007, resigned in April 2014 and then was reinstated in May of this year. He has a clean disciplinary record beyond a minor one-day suspension for missing a date to testify in court, according to Civil Service Commission records.

This story has been updated with comment from the sheriff’s office.