New Orleans police Officer Daryle Holloway put up a fierce struggle after he was shot Saturday morning while transporting a domestic-violence suspect to jail.
Hours after he was arrested on a count of shooting a .38-caliber handgun at his wife, and despite wearing handcuffs, suspect Travis Boys somehow was able to use a second weapon to shoot Holloway through a window of the caged portion of the officer’s SUV, according to an arrest warrant.
Police said a recording from the wounded officer’s body-worn camera showed that even after being shot in the right side, Holloway fought Boys so tenaciously over control of a weapon that Boys yelled three times, “Let me go before you kill yourself!”
Holloway stopped his vehicle in the 2200 block of North Claiborne Avenue near Elysian Fields Avenue, according to the warrant. Boys was then able to crawl through a partition from the rear to the front seat of the police SUV, where the fight continued. Weakened by his mortal wound, Holloway lost his grip on Boys and the suspect escaped through the front passenger-side door.
Boys fled east on North Claiborne, according to the arrest warrant. The officer he had shot, meanwhile, likely lost control of his SUV, which careened into a nearby utility pole.
The fatal shot entered the right side of Holloway’s chest, according to New Orleans Coroner Jeffrey Rouse, pierced his lungs, heart and major blood vessels, and exited through the left side of his chest. The subsequent car crash did not cause major injuries, Rouse said.
Holloway’s death at Interim LSU Hospital and Boys’ escape spurred a citywide manhunt that resulted in the suspect’s arrest Sunday morning. The arrest warrant for Boys, 33, however, sheds little light on one of the key questions: how he was able to gain control of a gun inside a police vehicle.
Officers took a .38-caliber weapon from Boys at the scene of his arrest on a count of shooting at his wife on Peace Court in St. Roch. Detectives found both that gun and the .40-caliber weapon Boys allegedly used to shoot Holloway in the front seat of the slain officer’s vehicle.
The .38-caliber weapon had been seized as evidence and was in the front seat of the SUV being transported to the department’s central evidence facility, according to NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble. But how the .40-caliber weapon wound up in the car is still under investigation.
Perhaps the gun was already inside the SUV at the start of Holloway’s day shift and remained in the vehicle when Boys entered it. Or perhaps Boys was able to slip it inside the vehicle.
Under NOPD policy, officers are supposed to check suspects for weapons at every step. They are to be frisked before an arrest, given a custodial search after an arrest and then searched again when they are transferred from one officer’s custody to another’s, as Boys was. Officers also are supposed to search vehicles for weapons at the beginning of every shift.
Boys has a long history of attempting to thwart arrest. In Jefferson Parish, he has been convicted of resisting arrest in 2011, attempted simple escape in 2005, simple escape in 2000 and flight from an officer in 2000.
At some point Saturday, the procedures meant to keep suspects like him from trying to flee broke down — or else the policies themselves were inadequate.
Gamble said the department’s Public Integrity Bureau is investigating “what protocols and procedures were followed in this incident and what additional training we may need to ensure something like this never happens again.”
While the investigation into Holloway’s fatal encounter with Boys proceeds, a separate police report revealed new details about Boys’ original arrest on aggravated assault.
About 3:30 a.m. Saturday, according to an arrest report, Boys came home from a night out to find his wife standing in their doorway. The woman told him she was tired of him coming home so late and wanted him to leave.
According to the police report, an irate Boys pointed the black, semi-automatic .38-caliber gun at his wife and told her, “I’m going to kill you!”
Police said Boys — who has a lengthy rap sheet including a charge of cruelty to a juvenile — then fired one shot at his wife.
The woman was able to escape from their house and flee to St. Roch Avenue and North Miro Street, where she notified police.
According to the arrest report, responding officers found Boys still inside the house about 4 a.m., asleep in the rear bedroom.
Neighbor Valerie Booker said she was just leaving for work about that time and saw Boys in handcuffs against a police vehicle. At least four cars and six officers were on the scene. It was the first time she had ever seen so many police on the block since she moved there a year and a half ago, she said.
After police collected a shell casing from the scene, Officer Wardell Johnson placed Boys under arrest about 7 a.m. The video from Johnson’s body camera may aid the Public Integrity Bureau’s investigation into whether Boys was adequately searched for weapons.
Johnson was a night shift officer. It fell to Holloway, a well-liked day shift officer posted to the 5th District, to transport Boys to Central Lockup. A little over an hour later, Holloway was lying in his SUV, mortally wounded.
Booker said that as she received text messages at work from a relative saying that an officer had been shot and her neighbor was the suspected culprit, she reacted in disbelief.
“But I did see them arrest him this morning,” she remembered thinking. “What happened?”
Twenty-four hours after his escape, Boys was arrested again.
Surveillance footage from Brother’s Food Mart in the Lower 9th Ward revealed Boys’ final minutes of freedom before a massive manhunt came to an end. The footage, obtained by The Advocate’s partners at WWL-TV, shows Boys buying a hot sausage po-boy and asking for a cup of water. He was wearing a jacket, which apparently hid the fact that he still had a handcuff on each wrist.
Clerk Kamara Sidi said Boys looked “nervous, completely nervous. … He looked suspicious.”
NOPD officers evidently thought so, too: The video shows officers eyeing Boys inside the store. They then called for backup and arrested him after a brief chase.
Boys has been booked on first-degree murder of a police officer, which carries a potential death sentence. He also has been booked on aggravated escape, illegal carrying of weapons, illegal possession of stolen things and theft of a motor vehicle.
A judge approved a motion Sunday from Boys’ attorneys, Anna VanCleave and Chistopher Murrell, both with the Orleans Public Defender’s Office, to take photographs of injuries they said he received during or after his arrest.
He is being held without bail in protective custody at Orleans Parish Prison.
Boys was already a fugitive before his initial arrest Saturday, a status that stemmed from a 2013 incident in which he allegedly stole a neighbor’s car — on Christmas.
Victim Michael Deyard found his 2013 Chevrolet Impala missing from its parking spot. The two men had played dominoes in Boys’ apartment and gone to a convenience store together on Christmas Day, according to a police report. But hours later, Boys allegedly took the car using a spare key he had spotted inside the vehicle.
“Everybody knew that he was an outlaw, and that he kept doing things like that,” Deyard said.
Boys has prior convictions in Louisiana for unauthorized use of a movable, carjacking, drug possession, illegal possession of stolen things, contraband and cruelty to juveniles.
Deyard said he was shocked and frightened that the same man who allegedly took his car shot a cop.
“There’s no telling what he could have done to me, either,” he said.
WWL-TV’s Paul Murphy contributed to this report.