Algiers man found dead after fire in home

A man’s body was discovered Sunday inside a home on Pittari Place in Algiers. He is believed to have died from smoke inhalation from a small space-heater fire inside the house.

Firefighters were called to investigate a smell of smoke in the 3700 block of Pittari Place minutes before noon and discovered the man unresponsive in the hallway, according to the New Orleans Fire Department. The Coroner’s Office will determine the cause of death, but he appeared to have died from smoke inhalation, a news release said.

“The fire appears to have started from an electric heater and strangely enough was extinguished due to a lack of either oxygen or fuel,” the release said. “Consequently, it was not discovered until a neighbor went to check on him. … Unfortunately, this is another case of no smoke alarm being present in the home.”

Anyone in Orleans Parish who needs smoke detectors or batteries for units they already have can call the NOFD Community Relations Office at (504) 658-4713.

Mandeville man dies in St. Tammany wreck

A man speeding in a Corvette died Saturday and his wife was injured when he lost control of the car and crashed in St. Tammany Parish, State Police said.

Brian Chopin, 56, of Mandeville, was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette heading north on La. 1088 about 4 p.m. Saturday, State Police said in a news release.

The Corvette was speeding when it entered a curve near Fish Hatchery Road and veered off the road to the right, Trooper 1st Class Melissa Matey said.

Chopin overcorrected and lost control of the Corvette, which flew through before slamming into several trees.

Chopin died at the scene. His wife, Lori, 53, was taken to a hospital with “moderate injuries.”

Both Chopin and his wife were wearing seat belts. Toxicology results are pending an autopsy.

Son arrested in father’s shooting in Empire

An 18-year-old man was taken into custody Sunday morning after allegedly shooting his father in the back after a disturbance five days earlier, Plaquemines Parish authorities said.

Deandre Leon Brooks Avist turned himself in about 9:15 a.m. Sunday at the Belle Chasse Lockup, according to the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Avist had been wanted on a count of attempted murder since a domestic disturbance about 8 p.m. Tuesday in the 33600 block of Parish Highway 11 in Empire. He allegedly fired two shots at his 58-year-old father with a handgun, one of which hit him in the back, a news release said.

The father has since been released from the hospital.

Woman’s purse stolen on St. Charles Avenue

A woman was robbed of her purse at gunpoint Saturday night on St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans police said.

The victim, a woman in her late 20s, was near St. Charles and Polymnia Street about 11:15 p.m. when a man pointed a gun at her and pulled on her purse, according to police. After a brief struggle, she gave up the purse.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

Police investigate gunfire at Mid-City park

Gunfire broke out shortly before noon Sunday while people played basketball at Comiskey Park in Mid-City, but police did not find any victims after the shooting, authorities and witnesses said.

The shots were fired about 11:45 a.m.

NOPD spokesman Officer Frank Robertson said no one appeared to have been injured.

One neighbor said she heard five to 10 shots, and although she stayed inside for her safety, she saw people running away from the park along South Clark Street.

“It’s terrible, because a lot of children play right there,” she said.

Another woman pointed to a bullet hole visible in the front passenger of her white SUV parked on South Clark. She said she wasn’t at the park when the shooting broke out, but her son was.

Two men drove up to the park while the investigation proceeded but were disappointed to find the basketball court closed while detectives looked for evidence.

Comiskey Park is one of the best courts to find other players for a pick-up game, said one of the men, a Carrollton-area resident.

“If we had come out here earlier, we’d have been in the middle of it,” he said.

Woman found guilty of importing drugs

A federal court jury in New Orleans last week convicted Yolanda Smith, 34, of Waggaman, on counts of conspiracy to import methylone from China into the United States, conspiracy to possess methylone with the intent to distribute and possession of methylone with the intent to distribute.

According to evidence introduced at her trial, Smith, along with three other co-defendants who pleaded guilty and testified as government witnesses, accepted mail parcels from China containing approximately half a kilogram each of methylone.

The parcels were intercepted by Customs and Border Protection agents in San Francisco and forwarded for controlled deliveries. The parcel addressed to Smith at her Waggaman residence was control-delivered on May 30, 2013, and she was arrested.

Smith faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan set sentencing for May 6.