Home invasion arrests made

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – St. John authorities have arrested a 19-year-old Reserve man and a 16-year-old Reserve teen in connection with a home invasion in Reserve this past Sunday that resulted in an exchange of gunfire, Sheriff Wayne Jones said this week.

Jones said Kerston Morgan, 19, 296 E. 14th St., Reserve, was taken into custody Tuesday after the homeowner identified him in a photographic lineup. Jones said Morgan has a lengthy prior arrest record in St. John Parish, and is one of several repeat offenders the Sheriff’s Office has been trying to remove from the street.

Morgan is being held at the Sherman Walker Correctional facility on a $750,000 bond. He was booked Tuesday with attempted armed robbery, aggravated burglary, and principal to attempted first-degree murder.

Jones said the 16-year-old, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was arrested Thursday after evidence from the scene tied him to the incident. The Sheriff said depending on the boy’s condition, he will either remain in the hospital under New Orleans Police supervision, or be transported to St. John Parish’s juvenile facility. The boy had been receiving treatment at a hospital in New Orleans for injuries sustained in last Sunday’s break in, and Jones said he was not sure if the suspect was ready to leave the hospital. Jones said the boy will also be booked with attempted armed robbery, aggravated burglary, and attempted first-degree murder.

“We have made arrangements with (Orleans Parish Sheriff) Marlin Gusman if the suspect is unable to leave,” said Jones.  

Jones said one other man, the driver of a getaway car, is still being sought in connection with the home invasion, which led to shots being fired by the intruders and the homeowner, 59-year-old Howard Loupe. Jones said Loupe is doing well, as he recovers from being shot in the left shoulder during the burglary.

According to the initial report on the incident, two black males, armed with guns, made entry into Loupe’s East 12th Street Extension home around 5:25 a.m. Sunday, May 11. Upon entry, the men encountered Loupe, who was asleep in the home with his 57-year-old wife and 10-year-old grandson.

Jones said one of the suspects repeatedly hit Loupe over the head with a gun, while demanding money, but at one point during the attack, Loupe was able to retrieve his own handgun. Gunfire was exchanged between Loupe and the intruders, and one of the intruders, later identified as the 16-year-old, was injured. The intruders then fled the scene. Neither Loupe’s wife, nor his grandson was injured in the shooting.

After investigators located a trail of blood leading away from the residence, authorities enlisted the help of other local law enforcement agencies in locating one of the suspects. Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Maj. Mike Tregre said that a few hours after sending out a bulletin regarding the incident, the St. John Sheriff’s Office received a call from New Orleans Police, who said a 16-year-old male from St. John was at a New Orleans area hospital seeking treatment for gunshot wounds. Jones said the boy had corroborated a story about being robbed in a housing project in the New Orleans area.

Jones said the intruders may have followed Loupe’s wife home from a Reserve truck stop casino, where she was playing video poker with a friend until about 3 a.m.  

The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with any information is asked to contact Det. Will Stelly with the St. John Sheriff’s Office at 985-652-6338.