A New Orleans police officer was shot and seriously wounded this morning as he responded to a robbery at the Dollar General store in the 1100-block of Poland Avenue, near the intersection of St. Claude.
The neighborhood is currently locked down, and police have shut the St. Claude bridge in both directions. A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office helicopter is circling overhead and SWAT teams are searching the area house-by-house, according to news reports and residents who live in the area.
Residents have been advised by police to stay inside and keep their doors locked.
April Siese, who lives in the neighborhood, says she and her roommate shop in the Dollar General frequently, and have been watching this morning's events with apprehension.
"We both frequent the store that was robbed and where this all took place," Siese said. "It's definitely unsettling and pretty eerie."
NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said the fifth-district officer was shot inside the store shortly after 7 a.m. as he responded to a report of a disturbance in the area. He said the officer was ambushed as he entered the Dollar General, and that a former officer who was shopping inside the store used the injured officer's radio to call in the incident.
"We want to thank our former police officer who was in the store. He's a very brave man," Serpas said.
Police say the wounded officer was shot several times and has been rushed to LSU Interim Hospital, where he is listed in serious condition.
According to police, immediately after the incident the suspect left the store and ran in the direction of the CBD.
The suspect is described as a black male between 30- and 40-years-old, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, a hat and a blue and white bandanna. He is approximately 5'7" tall.