Officer, woman killed in Louisiana; Suspect dead

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The man authorities say shot and killed a woman he’d been romantically involved with and a police officer who had tried to help her has died, hours after shooting himself in the chest during a standoff with authorities on a New Orleans bridge.

Col. John Fortunato, a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, said Sylvester Holt, 32, was pronounced dead at 11:14 p.m. Friday at University Hospital.

Authorities said Holt shot himself in the chest Friday evening after threatening for hours to jump off a bridge spanning the Mississippi River.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said during talks with authorities on the bridge Holt admitted shooting Westwego Police Officer Michael Louviere, 26, and Simone Veal, 32, the woman Holt had been romantically involved with. Normand said Holt had recently found out she was pregnant with her new boyfriend.

The incident began Friday morning when Holt went to Veal’s house; an altercation ensued during which he shot her several times.

Holt then looked for Veal’s boyfriend as the woman fled in a car with Holt eventually catching up to her.

“Witnesses said Sylvester Holt was ramming his truck into Simone’s car and firing shots into the car” before the vehicles stopped at the intersection where Louviere found them, Normand said.

The officer had just gotten off duty and was on his way home when he pulled over to help. Veal’s car was significantly damaged and she was on the ground, Normand said.

Holt then shot Louviere in the head as well, Normand said, praising the officer.

“He was doing the right thing for the right reasons at the right time,” Normand said.

Holt later fled the scene, and an intense manhunt ensued. Authorities later spotted Holt on a bridge spanning New Orleans’ east and west banks. Louisiana State Police spokeswoman Melissa Matey says authorities spent hours negotiating with Holt.

“All those attempts failed. At approximately 5:30, Holt shot himself in the chest,” she said.

This was not Holt’s first run-in with the law. He was the subject of restraining orders obtained by several women since 2012, Normand said.

And he’d also been arrested in September after being accused of rape. But Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. said the rape charge was later dropped after the woman repeatedly told authorities she wanted to withdraw the charge, though she still alleged that he had raped her. Holt was released from jail on Jan. 7.

Connick said Holt contended the sex was consensual.

Louviere, a first-year officer who had led his recruit class, may have spoken to Holt before Holt pulled a gun, Normand said.

Louviere is survived by his wife, and their daughter, 4, and son, 1.

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Associated Press writers Janet McConnaughey and Rebecca Santana contributed to this report.