Update, 10 a.m. Sunday: Man accused of killing NOPD officer, Travis Boys, arrested
Authorities spent Saturday searching for a fugitive accused of fatally shooting a veteran New Orleans police officer — a killing that stunned the city and prompted a dragnet in which dozens of law enforcement officers went door to door in search of the gunman.
The slain officer, Daryle Holloway, a 22-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department, was driving a suspect to Central Lockup when the handcuffed man managed to fatally shoot him and break free from custody, authorities said. Holloway, 45, was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after 9 a.m.
Police Superintendent Michael Harrison identified the gunman as 33-year-old Travis Boys, a local man with a lengthy criminal history who most recently had been arrested on a count of aggravated assault.
“He will not get away with this,” Harrison told reporters shortly after the shooting. “Justice will be served.”
The shooting happened near Elysian Fields and North Claiborne avenues. Several questions remained unanswered late Saturday. It was not clear, for instance, whose gun had been used in the shooting or how Boys got hold of it.
Harrison said the suspect may have been double jointed, as he apparently managed to bring his cuffed hands from behind his back to the front of his body. The prisoner “came through the backseat to the front seat through a port opening in the cage that separates the front seat and the backseat,” the superintendent said.
“Officer Holloway put up a fight to try to keep this subject to not exit the vehicle but succumbed to his injuries,” Harrison added.
Holloway’s police SUV crashed into an electricity pole near a gas station after the shooting. First responders found the officer in the front seat of the vehicle suffering from a gunshot wound.
Neighbors said they saw other officers attempting to resuscitate Holloway, who was put in an ambulance and taken away from the scene.
For hours after the shooting, officials from several law enforcement agencies, some of them attired in SWAT gear, combed through surrounding neighborhoods with an armored vehicle, setting up a perimeter around several city blocks as they followed a host of leads.
At one point, the authorities chased a pickup on North Roman Street near Music Street that crashed into some concrete pillars in front of a house. The truck’s occupants ran, neighbors said, and police cordoned off the area, searching house by house with canine units.
Resident Louis Age, 45, watched the search unfold with special interest because he went to high school with Holloway and for years had seen him in uniform. “He was just a very good person,” Age said. “He wasn’t mean-spirited. When other people might rush to judgment, he would hear you out.”
Boys, the suspect, has a long history of run-ins with law enforcement in the New Orleans area. Court records show he has been arrested several times in Jefferson Parish on counts ranging from possession of stolen property to cruelty to juveniles.
In early 2011, he was accused of striking a 10-year-old boy with a belt “numerous times to the face and back, causing extreme swelling,” according to a police report. Boys “continued by choking the 10-year-old,” the report said, “until he passed out unconscious.” He also pleaded guilty in 2000 to trying to escape from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.
City leaders and colleagues of Holloway expressed shock at the shooting, the second killing of a New Orleans law enforcement officer in less than a month.
Holloway, who most recently was assigned to the 5th District, was a “very lively person, full of personality,” said Harrison, who said he had known the man for more than two decades and considered him a personal friend.
Holloway was an experienced and accomplished police officer, Harrison said, and “served the city well every day of his career.”
Donovan Livaccari, an attorney for the Fraternal Order of Police, said New Orleans cannot accept violence against police officers. The death of an officer, he said, “tears at the fabric of our community.”
“Whenever we hear about a police officer killed in the line of duty, there is a shudder that runs through the law-abiding community,” Livaccari said. “When the officer is someone you know, the impact is much more personal. Officer Holloway was a well-respected, veteran member of the New Orleans Police Department. He was also a father.”
“He was pretty much liked by everybody,” added Maj. Raymond Burkart. “He was very good with the community, and he was a good friend.”
On the quiet street near Lakefront Airport where Holloway lived, neighbors remained in a collective state of disbelief hours after the shooting.
Holloway had lived on the block since at least Hurricane Katrina, said Buddy Lewis, a neighbor. The officer was a calming presence in the New Orleans East neighborhood and would always stop to say hello and poke his head out when he sensed there might be trouble, said Lewis, who lived a few doors down.
“He loved being a cop,” Lewis said. “He told me that.”
The mere presence of Holloway’s police car, parked on the street, served as a deterrent to crime in a community that sees plenty of it, neighbors said.
Natasha Ambo, who lives across the street, recalled that when two women recently were found dead on Interstate 10 within the span of a week, Holloway conferred with several anxious young women who lived on the block to offer safety suggestions.
“He’s no longer here, so now we’ve got something to be worried about,” Ambo said. “What happened to him, I don’t think he deserved that.”
Holloway, who joined the department in 1993, was not the type of officer eager to show off his authority, Lewis said. Instead he was a humble, unassuming man who never raised his voice. In 1995, Holloway was commended for going into a smoke-filled apartment to search for a baby, according to an article published that year in The Times-Picayune.
Employees at the Walgreens store on St. Claude Avenue, where Holloway worked on a detail for years, described him as a helpful, kind presence. “He was friendly; he was nice,” said manager R. Stewart. “He always stood for the right thing.”
Delwin McKee, who attended St. Augustine High School with Holloway, was shocked to hear the news. “He stood out because of his willingness to help people,” said McKee, who had just spoken with his old friend last week. As always, they joked around. “For sure, he would make you laugh,” McKee said.
The shooting drew swift, widespread revulsion from city leaders. Mayor Mitch Landrieu condemned the killing as “a despicable, cowardly” act.
“Killing an officer in the line of duty is an attack on our community that will not stand,” the mayor said in a statement. “We are bringing together every law enforcement resource at our disposal to find, capture and prosecute Travis Boys for this heinous crime.”
U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, called Holloway “an outstanding police officer, human being and friend.“
“My heart aches for his family, and this loss will be felt by the entire community,” Richmond said. “This tragedy should remind us that every day when our law enforcement officers suit up to protect us, they are putting their lives on the line.”
Holloway is the second law enforcement officer to be fatally shot in New Orleans in the past month. On May 24, James Bennett Jr., an officer for the Housing Authority of New Orleans, was fatally shot while patrolling a HANO construction site in Central City.
Before that slaying, the last New Orleans police officer to be fatally shot in the line of duty was Nicola Cotton, who was killed in 2008 by a disturbed man who wrested her service weapon from her and shot her 15 times.
Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans announced a $10,000 cash reward for information leading to Boys’ arrest. The authorities urged anyone with information about Boys’ whereabouts to call (504) 822-1111.