NEW ORLEANS – Friends and family of a Louisiana sheriff’s deputy critically wounded in New Orleans while serving a warrant were praying for him as well-wishers rushed to give blood to help in his recovery.
Stephen Arnold was still in the intensive care unit at a New Orleans hospital after losing a lot of blood and doctors would be monitoring him closely over the next few days “…to make sure there’s nothing wrong with his brain,” Debbie Webber, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in New Orleans, said late Tuesday.
“We just hope he wakes up,” Webber said.
Arnold was shot five times, including once in the neck, while taking part in a task force serving a warrant in New Orleans.
The man suspected in the shooting, identified by New Orleans police as Jarvis Hardy, was in FBI custody.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, where Arnold worked, said it will be 48 hours before it’s clear whether the deputy has neurological damage. Local news outlets said blood centers would remain open Wednesday because the response was so great.
The police said Hardy was arrested on charges of attempted first degree murder and narcotics violations, and was being held by the FBI. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment on whether Hardy had a lawyer.
The sheriff’s deputy was part of a sweeping investigation across the Crescent City designed to crack down on the drug trade and violence associated with it.
Eight drug task force teams had fanned out to conduct raids Tuesday morning, the DEA spokeswoman said.
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.
Tuesday’s shooting happened in the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, along a street that abuts the levee protecting the neighborhood from the Mississippi River. The Lower 9th Ward saw some of the worst devastation from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The neighborhood has a number of boarded-up houses, but the historic architecture of some homes and the proximity to the levee has attracted new residents who’ve made some renovations. Residents are often seen jogging or walking their dogs on the levee or visiting the nearby cafe that opened in 2012, a rare sit-down restaurant among mostly corner stores and takeout shops.
Betty Magee lives one street over from where the shooting occurred. She’s been in the area since 2001, with the exception of two years when she left after Hurricane Katrina. She said the neighborhood is quiet and nobody bothers her.
“I come and go any time of the day and night,” she said.
Associated Press writers Bill Fuller and Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans and Michael Kunzelman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, contributed to this report.