A 20-year-old man is behind bars today (Nov. 30) after he robbed a man at gunpoint and then fired gunshots toward police officers in an attempt to escape the scene.
It all happened just after 11 p.m. Tuesday night (Nov. 29). That’s when the NOPD received a call of an armed robbery in the 1400 block of North Derbigny Street. A task force of First and Fifth District officers, who were already in the neighborhood on proactive patrol to track down armed robbery suspects, immediately responded to the scene.
When officers arrived, they spotted an unknown male, later identified as Dequest McDowell (DOB: 11/23/1996), who fit the description of the suspect. McDowell ran off and officers began to pursue him in marked police vehicles. While attempting to escape, McDowell fired multiple gunshots toward the officers. The shots missed the officers but did strike two marked police vehicles. Officers did not return fire.
Officers continued to pursue the suspect on foot and, after setting up a perimeter in the area, they located McDowell hiding under a boat on a trailer in the 1600 block of North Tonti Street. Officers were then able to arrest McDowell without further incident.
In addition to the items taken in the armed robbery on North Derbigny, officers recovered the silver and black 9 mm handgun that they believe McDowell used in the incident and to shoot at officers. The victim of the armed robbery positively identified McDowell as the suspect.
Detectives believe McDowell may be responsible for multiple armed robberies recently reported in the area. Those investigations are on-going.
Superintendent Michael Harrison commended the officers for their proactive and aggressive work to quickly track down and arrest the suspect.
“We are serious about taking violent criminals off the street,” Chief Harrison said. “Because of our strong and thorough investigation, we were able to put the resources right where they needed to be to quickly respond to this incident and prevent more crime from happening. I am committed to smartly deploying our resources to track down and arrest the individuals who choose to commit violent crime.”
Earlier this year, Chief Harrison created the TIGER Unit, or Tactical Intelligence Gathering and Enforcement Response, to investigate serial armed robbery cases across the city. Since then, the Unit has cleared several dozen armed robbery investigations, arresting suspects on multiple counts. The effort has led to what has been a steady decrease in armed robberies reported citywide in 2016. Year to date, there have been a total of 783 armed robberies reported citywide, compared to 888 at the same time last year. That’s a 12 percent decrease.
If you have information about any incidents involving Dequest McDowell, please contact any First District detective at 504-658-6010 or any Fifth District detective at 504-658-6050. Citizens with information that can help solve crimes are asked to call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free 1-877-903-STOP.