New Orleans police arrested Sunday the man suspected of shooting and killing a police officer who was transporting him to jail a day earlier, ending a nearly 24-hour manhunt that left residents on edge.
During a press conference Sunday, New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison said Travis Boys, 33, was arrested Sunday morning near the intersection of Reynes St. and St. Claude Ave. Boys was arrested through tips received across the metropolitan area, Harrison said, which detailed the Dodge pickup truck Boys was spotted in. Marshals pursued Boys in the truck, then continued the chase on foot when he abandoned the vehicle and fled into the St. Roch neighborhood.
Boys was arrested as he boarded a commuter bus, Harrison said. The suspect was still wearing parts of the broken handcuffs he had on when he escaped police custody Saturday. He will be charged with first-degree murder of a police officer, aggravated escape and illegal possession of a firearm, as well as the aggravated assault charge, Harrison said.
After being recaptured, Boys was taken to a local hospital suffering from dehydration, Harrison said.
Investigators said Boys, sitting in the back of the police cruiser Saturday morning, somehow obtained a gun as he was handcuffed behind his back and got through a barrier that separated him from the front seat of the vehicle. Boys then shot veteran Officer Daryle Holloway, 45, causing the cruiser to crash into a utility pole, police said, according to WVUE. Boys escaped on foot after the crash.
Harrison said Boys got into the front seat through an opening in the cage that separates the front and back seats.
"Officer Holloway put up a fight to try to get the subject to not exit the vehicle, but succumbed to his injuries," Harrison said.
The murder of Holloway, a 22-year veteran of the police department, left New Orleans’ St. Roch neighborhood on edge as body-armored officers with high-powered rifles swept houses for Boys.
"I literally live two blocks away and I just want to go home," said Jayne Greppin, as sunlight began to dim Saturday evening. She said police hadn't stopped her when she left her house to get cigarettes, but wasn't allowed back onto her street shortly thereafter. The search spanned several blocks and police were keeping some people away from their homes, while not allowing others to come out.
Department spokesman Tyler Gamble said police were trying to determine what weapon Boys used and how he obtained it, but do not believe Boys used the officer's gun.
"I look out the door — I'd heard the boom — I see the fire truck here on the corner," he said. It was only later, after police had swarmed into the area that he learned what happened.
“We lost a hero, and it will take time for us to recover,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Sunday during the press conference with Harrison.
In speaking of Holloway, Landrieu said, “He was more than a good cop; he was a great man,” acknowledging that the officer's murder occurred a day before Father’s Day.
State police, St. Tammany Parish deputies, Housing Authority of New Orleans police and the U.S. Marshals Service were among the agencies searching for Boys.
A helicopter circled overhead as marked and unmarked units from state police and other law enforcement agencies cruised side streets after the shooting. Utility workers worked to replace the downed power pole.
Vincent Alexander, a prep cook at Margaritaville restaurant in the French Quarter, said he was walking home from work when police detoured him a short distance from his house. "I just called my roommate. They're not letting him get out the house."
Holloway had been a member of the New Orleans Police Department since 1992. He was the father of three children.
Harrison said Holloway was not the arresting officer, but was transporting Boys to a jail when the shooting occurred. Boys was under arrest on an aggravated assault charge at the time of the shooting.
Harrison said he met with two of Holloway's children and Holloway's former wife at the hospital after he died. "As a new chief, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life," said Harrison, who became chief last year.
He said he had known Holloway for 23 years and described him as "a great police officer."
Landrieu condemned the killing as "the lowest of the low," calling it "a despicable and cowardly act."
"Killing an officer in the line of duty is an attack on our community that will not stand," Landrieu said in a statement. "The heart and soul of New Orleans is heavy today as our community mourns one of our city's finest."
The last New Orleans Police Department officer killed in the line of duty was Officer Rodney Thomas on July 7, 2013, according to Gamble. More recently, a Housing Authority police officer, James Bennett Jr., 45, was found shot to death in his patrol car.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.