Sheriff: ‘Miracle’ no one was hurt, killed during lunchtime kidnapping arrests

Published 12:14 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

LAPLACE — The fact no one was hurt during the arrests of five suspects connected to a life-threatening abduction last week is something that amazes Sheriff Mike Tregre.

The veteran St. John the Baptist Parish law enforcement officer said deputies with the Sheriff’s Office and troopers with Louisiana State Police deserve special recognition for their actions throughout the potentially dangerous and deadly pursuit that erupted through the streets of LaPlace.

Local involvement began when authorities were alerted that several unknown assailants in the Thibodaux area took a Lafayette man hostage. It was then learned the victim was being housed in St. John the Baptist Parish, most likely in a mobile home in LaPlace.

“First, (the suspects) were in a residence on Beech Street,” Tregre said. “We set up surveillance and were planning an assault on the trailer they were in. (Before we could do that,) they loaded up themselves and the victim in three separate cars, and the St. John Sheriff’s Office and State Police tried to stop three cars at one time.

“It’s a miracle no one was hurt, no lethal force was used and there were no car crashes. It was highly successful and highly dangerous.”

Tregre said one vehicle managed to briefly escape, a second was stopped after a short vehicle pursuit and the third car was abandoned quickly “with the hostage left on the back floorboard.”

“That is when the foot pursuit started down LaPlace at noon with everybody going to lunch and the highways full of citizens,” Tregre said.

“The foot chase began, and one perpetrator made it to Walgreens and threw a gun in the garbage can as we were chasing him. The guy then tried to run and get away from us by running toward the Percy Hebert building before we got him.”

Two other suspects made their way to Cricket Wireless in LaPlace.

“They stripped their clothing and actually pretended to be customers at Cricket’s, trying to buy a phone,” Tregre said. “They fell in line with the rest of the people in the store.”

Those booked into the St. John the Baptist Parish jail Thursday for aggravated kidnapping were Erin D. Carter, 32, of LaPlace; Jordan A. Jackson, 26, of Schriever; Daron D. Nolan, 21, of Thibodaux; and Herbert L. Woolens, 19, of Monroe.

Erin D. Carter

Erin D. Carter

The suspect count swelled to five Saturday when Lloyd Joseph Johnson Jr., 32, of Reserve turned himself in on an aggravated kidnapping charge, Tregre said.

Lloyd Joseph Johnson Jr.

Lloyd Joseph Johnson Jr.

Troop B Spokeswoman Melissa Matey said Louisiana State Police is the lead agency in the case, adding the victim was initially brought to a residence in Thibodaux, restrained, held against his will and beaten overnight.

Matey said more arrests are anticipated, describing the case as active and ongoing.

A motive for the abduction has not been released.

“I think it would be speculation at this point as to whether or not it is gang related or anything like that,” Matey said. “The whole investigation is going to need to play out.”

Matey said she could not address how the suspects knew each other, the health status of the victim or if anyone arrested has cooperated with police.

Tregre said he was glad authorities were able to save the abduction victim’s life, no matter his potential involvement in criminal activities.