Teens arrested in shooting incident that wounded state trooper _lowres

Robert Leblanc

Police call him a street gang member and named him in the investigation of the shooting of a state trooper.

Britteny Shaw knows her teenage brother in a different way: scarred by the death of his mother, terrified of the charges he faces.

Early Wednesday morning, State Police stormed into the family’s Gentilly home and took 15-year-old Quincy Shaw into custody. Investigators said in a warrant that another youth had named him as the person who shot at a state trooper in a Dec. 11 incident in New Orleans East, sending shrapnel hurtling into the trooper’s chest but not seriously injuring him.

Both Shaw and Robert Leblanc, 17, were arrested Wednesday after detectives scoured fingerprints, social media, Winn-Dixie receipts and even utility bill records in an extensive investigation that lasted weeks.

Shaw’s record is sealed in Juvenile Court, but Leblanc has been booked as a principal to attempted second-degree murder.

Leblanc remained in the Orleans Parish jail on $480,000 bail Friday. Shaw, according to his sister, also is in custody.

Police earlier gave only a short account of the Dec. 11 shooting, but a warrant sworn by Trooper Gustave Bethea last week laid out in full detail the dramatic events that police say started in a Winn-Dixie parking lot.

As three plainclothes state troopers sat in an unmarked Chevrolet Impala in the lot of the New Orleans East Winn-Dixie about 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11, the warrant says, they spotted a black Chevrolet Silverado with a driver and two passengers that had been reported stolen in St. John the Baptist Parish.

The troopers called in marked units to make a traffic stop on the Silverado and began following it from the Winn-Dixie, 9701 Chef Menteur Highway, westbound onto Grant Street, according to the warrant. As the troopers followed in a manner “as inconspicuous as possible,” according to the warrant, the truck made a right turn onto Marque Street and came to a halt.

Then, police said, a passenger in the truck perched himself in an open window and fired four to five rounds from a .45-caliber pistol. The bullets shattered the troopers’ front windshield, sending glass onto the driver and his front-row passenger.

The windshield slowed the bullets, but a piece of shrapnel from one of them struck the driver in the chest, police said. The metal tore up his shirt but did not penetrate his chest.

Troopers did not return fire, police said, and the Silverado fled the area. The troopers inside the vehicle were not able to describe their assailants in depth, but within hours, State Police released surveillance images from the Winn-Dixie of two youthful-looking males believed to have been involved in the shooting.

Police said their investigation from there hinged on two pieces of information: a Coinstar receipt the suspects handed over to a Winn-Dixie cashier before entering the stolen truck and an anonymous call telling them that the people who shot at the troopers were students at Sophie B. Wright Charter School.

Administrators at Sophie B. Wright told troopers that one of the people captured on Winn-Dixie surveillance video looked like Quincy Shaw, a new student at the school with a disciplinary problem. The administrators believed, according to a warrant, that Shaw had been driving to school with friends in a stolen vehicle.

The Silverado was recovered in the 4600 block of Eastview Street in New Orleans East on Dec. 13. DNA swabbed from the rear right passenger compartment matched Shaw’s, police said, although they did not explain how they were able to obtain a sample from him.

Fingerprints from the Coinstar receipt, meanwhile, matched those of another teenager. Administrators at that teen’s school told police they believed they recognized the teen from the Winn-Dixie surveillance video. They also said they believed the third suspect captured on video was Robert Leblanc, a former student.

Police said they believed that Shaw, Leblanc and the other teen were all members of a small street gang with an unprintable name. A video recovered from one teen’s phone showed Leblanc and others in the group “consuming copious amounts of marijuana,” according to the warrant.

Trooper Bethea executed a search warrant on Leblanc’s residence early Wednesday morning, according to court records. When the 17-year-old was brought in for questioning, police said, he admitted that he was driving the Silverado with Shaw and the other teenager as passengers. Leblanc named Shaw as the shooter, according to the warrant.

At about the same time, Shaw’s sister said, police descended on her Gentilly home to search for evidence in the case. Their side of a double-shotgun still has a hole in its front door, and the house’s rear-door frame is equally battered. The floor is pocked with singe marks, apparently from stun grenades police used while entering the home.

A warrant for the Shaw residence states that police wanted to enter the house without knocking first “due to the volatility of the evidence sought.” Britteny Shaw was not at home at the time of the search, but her terrified younger sister was.

Shaw said she has had custody of her brother since 2013, a year after her mother died. She was 19 at the time, and she recalled that her brother was devastated by his mother’s death. On Thursday, she said, her brother called her from juvenile custody, terrified about his situation.

Last month, Quincy Shaw was involved in another shooting incident. New Orleans police reported on Jan. 13 that he accidentally shot himself in the leg.

Britteny Shaw said she knows little about the accusations against her brother but is convinced of his innocence. She said she did not know Leblanc, the 17-year-old accused of driving the stolen Silverado.

She wept as she spoke about her brother’s situation.

“I’m lost,” she said. “He tells me everything, so I know he didn’t do this. I’m all he got.”

Leblanc has been booked on illegal possession of stolen things, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of juveniles and two counts of assault by drive-by shooting. His attorney, Tanzanika Ruffin, declined to comment.

The warrant for Leblanc’s arrest does not indicate whether the other person in the Silverado, or others in the reputed street gang, have been taken into custody.