NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Police arrested a 21-year-old man they say they found committing a sexual assault and armed robbery in the Carrollton neighborhood early Wednesday evening.
He was the same man authorities said was involved in a home invasion at the end of last week on Panola Street.
Superintendent Ronal Serpas said officers found James Johnson after responding to a call of a woman screaming for help.
According to Serpas, the woman’s roommate gave officers keys to the home and upon entering, heard voices towards the bedroom. As they entered the bedroom, the woman told officers Johnson was sexually assaulting her.
Further investigation by the special victims unit, police said, determined that after the sexual assault, Johnson demanded money from her and threatened to kill her.
Thursday afternoon, during a press conference announcing Johnson’s arrest, Serpas became noticeably frustrated with the case, due in part to the fact it wasn’t the man’s first brush with authorities.
“What most notable about Johnson is that he is on probation until end of 2014 for armed robbery,” Serpas said. “So, let me remind you what that means – that means he has been in court, that means he has been found guilty of a crime, that means he made an agreement to be a good man in our community and yet he couldn’t. He has now been linked to and admitted to sexually assaulting women.”
Johnson, meanwhile, admitted to the armed burglary on Panola Street this past Friday. Officers remain hunting for two others believed to possibly be involved in that home invasion, one in which three Tulane students were tied up and robbed.
His arrest comes after a spike in crime in the area, keeping residents on edge, and the apprehension of two others for separate home burglaries.
Two men – Daniel Adams and Rosel Guillen-Mendez – were arrested Wednesday for what authorities believe to be a connection to four home burglaries on Richmond Street, Octavia Street, Wirth Place and State Street.
But it was the arrest of Johnson that raised Serpas’ ire the most.
“Hopefully this time – and we say this to the entire criminal justice system and the people of New Orleans – hopefully this time these dangerous repeat offenders might be found to stay in jail, to stay in prison and to not be on the streets of New Orleans to hurt families of hard-working people in our community,” the superintendent said.
Second District Commander Paul Noel said officers will remain in the area.
“Absolutely," Noel said. "We’re going to remain very vigilant in the area. "