A tip to Crimestoppers helped New Orleans police capture the last of four suspects in the brutal beating and robbery of a pair of Boston-area tourists in the French Quarter over the weekend.
Nicholas Pogozelski, 18, was arrested near the Wal-Mart store on Tchoupitoulas Street after the tip, police said Wednesday.
Earlier, police arrested Rashaad Piper, 20, at a business in the 800 block of Conti Street in the French Quarter, where he was "hanging out" Tuesday evening, authorities said.
Their two co-defendants — Dejuan Paul, 21, and Joshua Simmons, 18 — had surrendered previously, after police released a video of the attack, which happened in the 200 block of Bienville Street and sent both Tim Byrne and James Curran to the hospital.
"This is the value of video, and this is what's coming to the entire city," NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said Wednesday.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu has promised to deploy more cameras throughout the city. His plan targets 20 neighborhoods considered “hot spots” for crime, including the French Quarter, and calls for installing 10 cameras and six license plate readers in each area.
According to court records, Simmons gave police a recorded statement in which he identified himself, Paul and Pogozelski as those responsible for robbing Byrne and Curran about 9 p.m. Saturday.
The four suspects are accused of second-degree robbery, which in Louisiana can carry up to 40 years in prison.
Byrne and Curran are computer systems specialists for the Unitarian Universalist Association, a religious group that was holding its annual meeting in New Orleans last week.
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The two men were walking near the riverfront when they were attacked, with Paul and Simmons targeting Byrne while Piper and Pogozelski went after Curran, according to police.
Curran was quickly released from the hospital and returned to Boston by Monday.
Byrne remained hospitalized with what authorities described as a serious brain injury, though police said he was breathing on his own again after being on a ventilator.
Paul recognized himself on widely circulated surveillance footage of the attack that police released late Sunday, according to court records. He contacted a pastor Monday and asked for help surrendering to investigators.
Simmons surrendered Monday night through the staff of Covenant House, a youth shelter where he, Paul and Pogozelski had been living. Piper was not living at Covenant House and on Wednesday told a judge he was homeless.
Covenant House is about 10 blocks from where Byrne and Curran were robbed. The staff there confirmed the names and dates of birth of the men identified by Simmons, according to court records.
A relative who asked not to be identified said Pogozelski was raised in Florida by adoptive parents, had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder at an early age and had acted violently toward family members on numerous occasions.
That person said Pogozelski's biological mother is from New Orleans and he recently tried unsuccessfully to join the U.S. Army, something the Army said it could not comment on.
An uncle of Paul's said Tuesday his nephew also has a history of mental illness. Covenant House often shelters young people with psychiatric problems.
A magistrate judge ordered Paul, Simmons, Pogozelski and Piper held without bail pending the outcome of a hearing tentatively set for Friday. However, attorneys for all four are due in court Thursday to confirm the scheduling.
An attorney for Paul said in court Wednesday he was working on gathering medical records that may show there is "a better place" for his client to await future court proceedings than jail. The attorney, Christian Bonin, did not say what that facility might be.