NEW ORLEANS — A sheriff’s deputy severely wounded during a drug raid he was leading was shot outside a bedroom by an assailant who later told police he was a drug dealer and that he thought he was being robbed, the FBI said Wednesday.
The suspect, identified as Jarvis Hardy, is in FBI custody. He was charged Wednesday in federal court with attempted murder and attempted murder of a federal officer, the FBI said.
In a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, the FBI said officers first announced themselves and when they got no response, battered down the door. As they were searching the house, someone inside a bedroom opened fire and hit Stephen Arnold.
Another member of the task force shot back into the bedroom while Arnold was taken to safety, the document said. Shortly afterward, Hardy was arrested.
Hardy made a brief court appearance Wednesday, wearing a red jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled. He was appointed a public defender and future court dates were set.
At one point, when he was told the maximum sentence he could face — 20 years — an elderly family member in the audience yelled out “Oh, my God!” and collapsed on the floor. Neither his family nor his public defender spoke to the media following the hearing.
The FBI said Hardy “made statements saying he shot because he thought he was being robbed.”
A .40-caliber gun and bullet shells were found in the bedroom, the FBI said.
Arnold was still in critical condition Wednesday and on a ventilator, said Col. John Fortunato of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s department where Arnold worked.
“We will not rest or stop until we eradicate the plague of persistent violent crime in our state,” said FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Jeff Sallet.
The agency said Hardy told authorities that he only heard the officers identify themselves after he opened fire, although the FBI said officers announced themselves before entering the house and repeatedly during the raid. The agency also said Hardy told investigators he was a crack cocaine dealer.
Hardy’s mother, Gail Hardy, was home during the raid and told investigators that she knew her son was a drug dealer.
The FBI said the mom told investigators that she heard the knocks on the front door, saw that it was a police raid and ran into her son’s bedroom and hid in a corner, the FBI said. The FBI said she told her son the police were at the house.
Hardy bought his gun at a pawn shop in Chalmette, Louisiana, a town next to New Orleans, the agency said.
Eight drug task force teams had fanned out to conduct raids Tuesday morning, said Debbie Webber, a spokeswoman for the New Orleans office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Twelve officers from federal and local agencies were involved with the team where the shooting took place, she said.
The raids were part of a seven-month investigation into drugs, heroin and violent offenses that has resulted in 73 arrests, Webber said.
New Orleans has long struggled with crime. Signs of hope appeared when the homicide rate fell to a 43-year low in 2014, but it jumped last year by 10 percent. To combat street crime, local and federal law enforcement agencies have teamed up in recent years to target neighborhood gangs.
Associated Press Writer Bill Fuller contributed to this report.
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