Two New Orleans Police officers shot near Royal and St. Philip streets; suspect arrested

Two New Orleans Police officers were shot, one in the face, in an ambush-style attack by a suspect traveling with a pedicab in the French Quarter last week.

The attack occurred shortly before 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30 at the intersection of Royal and St. Philip streets while the officers were on routine patrol in their vehicle, according to New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.

A man, identified as 44-year-old Donnell Linwood Hassell, was a passenger in a pedicab traveling on St. Peter Street and allegedly fired several shots at the officers’ patrol SUV as it passed through the intersection at Royal and St. Philip streets.

Responding officers quickly located and apprehended Hassell, who appeared to be “under some sort of medical condition,” near the intersection of St. Peter and Decatur streets and was taken to the hospital, according to Ferguson, who added the officers did not fire their weapons.

Officers allegedly located a holster on Hassell and a gun at the scene when he was arrested.

Hassell had no prior contact with the officers before the shooting, according to Ferguson.

One officer, identified as Trevor Abney, a 4-year NOPD veteran, was shot in the face just below the left eye, leaving the bullet lodged in his skull. The other officer, Brooke Duncan IV, a 16-year veteran of the NOPD, was cut with broken glass as bullets shattered the windshield of the police cruiser.

A nearby witnesses, identified as a retired female US Army veteran, rendered medical aid to the officers before they were transported to the hospital, where Abney was able to check himself in on his own and was listed in serious condition, according to Ferguson.

Hassell was released from the hospital on Nov. 1 and arrested on suspicion of two charges of attempted murder. His bail was set at $1,500,000.

In addition to the responding NOPD officers, independent police monitors also responded to the shooting, Ferguson said.

The incident is under investigation by the Force Investigation Team.

Ferguson commended the professionalism of the responding officers and the community’s help.

“This is a daunting day for our officers,” Ferguson said at a press conference held near the location several hours following the incident. “We talk about the pandemic, we talk about social injustice and civil unrest, we can talk about hurricane season. 2020 has been a very challenging year for everyone.”

Donnell Hassell