Manhunt for gunman in officer's killing leads to New Orleans bridge

A man on the bridge was threatening to jump off.

A man on the bridge was threatening to jump off.  (Fox 8 New Orleans)

A man suspected of killing two people, including an off-duty police officer, was apparently the same man threatening to jump off a New Orleans bridge Friday afternoon, Fox 8 reported.

The man could be seen walking back and forth along the side of the Crescent City Connection over the Mississippi River, the station reported. Police said their presence on the bridge was in fact related to the killings.

Law enforcement officers announced early in the manhunt that they were looking for 32-year-old Sylvester Holt in connection with the shootings.

Louisiana State Police said a SWAT team and crisis negotiators were at the scene, “communicating with a suicidal individual,” the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

Holt is a person of interest in the shooting death of Officer Michael Louviere, 26, of Westwego, authorities said. The officer was shot in neighboring Marrero, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said.

The officer was shot in the back of the head, Normand said. 

The other victim was Simone Veal, 32, of Marrero, who had been romantically involved with Holt.

Louviere stopped to help her around 6:30 a.m. Friday as he was driving home from work. He was still in uniform.

He saw Veal in a car that had crashed and stopped to provide assistance, Normand said.

"This was a cold-blooded murder," Westwego Police Chief Dwayne Munch said.

Dozens of officers from multiple agencies were searching for Holt who had been romantically involved with the woman. Several women had taken out protective orders against him, the sheriff said.

Authorities say Holt was released from jail on Jan. 7 after prosecutors declined to prosecute him for rape.

A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman said prosecutors dropped the rape case due to “lack of witness participation.”

The shooting unfolded outside of Visitation of Our Lady School, located just across the Mississippi River from New Orleans.

A message on its Facebook page said an incident Friday morning disrupted the school day, and children could be dropped off but all absences would be excused. It also said that a sixth-grade field trip had been canceled and all tests, quizzes and assignments would be postponed.

Louviere joined the Westwego Police Department more than a year ago, the Times-Picayune reported. He was married and the father of two children, 1 and 4.

He also served in the Marines in Afghanistan.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.