GRETNA, La.— The man sought in connection with the shooting deaths of a police officer and a woman the officer was apparently trying to help had just been released from jail Jan. 7 after the Jefferson Parish District Attorney did not pursue charges against him in a rape case, reports CBS affiliate WWLTV.
Sylvester Holt, Jr., had been arrested Sept. 29, 2016, accused of picking up a woman in a New Orleans bar on May 4, 2016, taking her to Metairie, and raping her at gunpoint, according to the station.
Jefferson Parish Commissioner Paul Schneider reportedly issued a restraining order against Holt in the case, prohibiting him from owning a gun and being within 200 feet of the alleged victim. Holt was released, but the restraining order is reportedly effective through April 3, 2018.
Charges were dropped because the woman in the case was uncooperative, Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick said in a statement obtained by the station.
A spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said Friday morning Holt is considered a person of interest and a suspect in the shooting deaths of Westwego Police Officer Michael Louviere, 26, and a woman who WWLTV reports has been identified as Simone Veal, Holt’s wife.
Louviere was off-duty and on his way home from work and had pulled over to help Veal, 32, who he thought had been a victim of a car accident, officials said.
Louisiana authorities say Veal had been chased down in a vehicle by the shooter, who killed her as she lay on the ground after crashing her car. Col. John Fortunato of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office says witnesses say the gunman shot at Veal, then chased her car in his vehicle to an intersection where she hit a truck waiting at a light.
Fortunato says that while in the intersection, the man shot Louviere, then ran around the car and shot Veal as she lay on the ground. Fortunato didn’t know if Veal had been hit in the earlier shooting.
An autopsy found that Veal was eight weeks pregnant when she was killed, the station reports.
Holt was also previously arrested in St. Bernard Parish on an aggravated assault with a weapon charge, according to the station. A police report says Holt allegedly banged on the window of an ex-girlfriend with a gun threatening to “flat line” her in 2015.
St. Bernard Parish had reportedly issued a writ of habeas corpus five days after he was released from jail in Jefferson Parish to have Holt brought to St. Bernard in February to face the aggravated assault charge.