The New Orleans man who shot a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy this week told authorities he opened fire inside his bedroom “because he thought he was being robbed” by a group of men raiding his home, according to court papers filed Wednesday by the FBI.
But Jarvis Hardy’s claim that he didn’t recognize the armed men outside his room as police officers was contradicted by his own mother, who told investigators she alerted her son the police had come for him.
Hardy’s mother, Gail, ran into her son’s bedroom, told him “the police were at the house, hid in the corner, covered her head and then heard gunshots,” Special Agent Adam Plummer, of the FBI, wrote in a criminal complaint. “She said Hardy is a drug dealer, and she knew the police were at her house because of her son.”
The criminal complaint offered a host of new details about the shooting of Deputy Stephen Arnold, a 12-year veteran of the JPSO who was serving on a federal narcotics task force executing a search warrant early Tuesday at Hardy’s home in the Lower 9th Ward. Arnold, 35, was shot five times and remains hospitalized in critical condition.
“I want him to wake up,” Detective Dave Biondolillo, of the JPSO, told WWL-TV. “I’m just ready for him to come home and come back out and go back to work.”
Hardy appeared in federal magistrate court Wednesday afternoon to answer to felony charges of attempted murder of a federal officer, a statute that applies because Arnold had been federally deputized to serve on the task force with members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
An elderly family member of Hardy’s fainted in the back row of the courtroom when Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Quinlan announced that Hardy could face up to 20 years behind bars if convicted.
“The people of New Orleans deserve a safe place to raise their families and live decent lives,” Jeff Sallet, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans field division, said in a statement. “We will not rest or stop until we eradicate the plague of persistent violent crime in our state.”
The task force, which consists of officers from several local and federal law enforcement agencies, had been wearing “readily identifiable markings” and knocked at the Douglas Street residence shortly after 6 a.m., according to the criminal complaint. The agents waited “several seconds with no response” before forcing their way in, the complaint says.
“After utilizing a battering ram, approximately eight to 10 times, entry was finally made into the residence by the entry team,” the complaint says.
As the agents made their way through the residence, they “were repeatedly identifying themselves as law enforcement officers,” the complaint says. Hardy opened fire after the agents entered a bedroom of the home, the complaint says, striking Arnold in the neck and torso.
A task force member identified as Richard Russ returned fire as other agents moved Arnold to safety and took Hardy into custody. Authorities found a .40 caliber gun and multiple spent shell casings in the bedroom.
Hardy told officers after his arrest that he opened fire “believing he was about to be robbed (and) claiming to have only heard the officers identifying themselves as police officers after he shot,” according to the complaint. “Hardy also admitted to being a crack cocaine dealer.”
A family friend told The Advocate this week that Hardy had become increasingly withdrawn since an incident in September in which armed robbers fired upon him near his home.
In that Sept. 22 incident, Hardy told police, he was accosted by two men who forced him into his home, stripped off his clothing and bound his hands with a belt.
He told police he later followed the men as they left his house, and that one of his assailants fired at him with an assault rifle.
Hardy’s mother told the authorities this week that she knew her son had a gun for protection “because he is a drug dealer,” the criminal complaint says. He purchased the weapon at a pawn shop in Chalmette.
Paul Murphy, of WWL-TV, contributed to this report.
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