NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- New Orleans police have raised an arrest award to $10,000 for information leading to the capture of a robbery suspect who shot a police officer.
Police said officer John Passaro was hit multiple times and remains in "very serious" condition Sunday. He was at the beginning of a day shift Saturday morning when he responded to a call of a robbery in progress at a Dollar General store in the city's Bywater neighborhood. He entered the store shortly after 7 a.m. and found no clerks or customers.
Unaware an armed robber had forced three store employees into a back office, Passaro stood outside the door and announced himself as a police officer. When the assailant emerged he began firing immediately, hitting Passaro twice.
"It was a seemingly routine call, but all hell broke loose," said Bryan Lagarde, a former NOPD officer and director of the nonprofit ProjectNOLA, who listened to the police radio traffic.
Canine and helicopter patrols swept the neighborhood to try to find the suspect who fled after shooting Passaro, but to no avail. A Crimestopper reward of $10,000 has been announced for information leading to the suspect's arrest.