Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Two Louisiana men were shot and killed by a recently fired coworker at a West Bank shipyard on Monday, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said.

The suspect in the murders was himself killed hours later in a shootout with deputies.

Authorities say the initial shooting happened at FMT Shipyard & Repairs on Peters Road in Harvey around 1 p.m.

The victims were identified as 48-year-old Nakie James Brown and 20-year-old Dustin Parrie Jr., according to the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s office. Their killer was identified as 31-year-old Willis Thomas Jr.

Thomas was described as a former employee who recently was fired. Jefferson Parish court records show Thomas was a convicted felon who recently served a year in prison and completed five years of probation stemming from a 2017 guilty plea for robbing a man near Westwego.

Neighbors, workers stunned by Harvey shipyard murders, suspect’s fatal shootout with deputies

Officials believe he targeted two men who worked in the same labor crew as him.

“From what I understand they were labor-type jobs. I think they were part of a grass-cutting crew, that type of stuff, just labor-type,” Lopinto said from the scene. “But believe me, obviously the motive was to kill his former coworkers.”

Lopinto says Thomas was picked up from the shipyard by his mother, who “didn’t know anything,” and brought to his home at an apartment complex on Manhattan Boulevard.

Lopinto said units converged on the apartment and observed Thomas coming out onto his balcony several times. He says the suspect came down the steps and walked over to a dumpster when he spotted deputies and took off on foot.

Thomas then reportedly produced a firearm and began shooting at deputies. Lopinto said multiple deputies returned fire, fatally striking the gunman.

“He came out of the apartment came down the steps of the apartment itself and walked over to a dumpster area. When he saw units in the area. He ended up started running from them. They began converging he actually picked up his firearm and started firing shots on our officers. I have numerous officers that returned fire at that point in time and he is now pronounced dead here,” Lopinto said.

FMT released a statement offering thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families:

“A tragic shooting event occurred earlier this afternoon at the FMT Shipyard in Harvey, LA. The Company understands that the shooting involving one shooter and two victims occurred today among contract workers at the facility. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.”

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born | buffygunner@illicitdeeds.com

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