NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans police have recovered a vehicle matching the description of the car involved in a fatal hit and run that killed an NOPD officer over the weekend, according to police, and officers are questioning individuals in the case.
Officer Rodney Thomas, 52, died Sunday morning after a hit-and-run accident on the Interstate 10 high rise. Thomas had just been involved in a minor traffic accident, and when he got out to check on the other vehicle, he was hit by a third vehicle, a 2011 or 2012 model Porsche Panamera.
Thomas was a beloved figure in the NOPD. Ask anyone about him, and their face lights up.
“He was just always, always wanting to help people. It's a total, total loss for the city,” said retired NOPD Sgt. Bobby Guidry.
Guidry worked with Thomas in the Second District, and in recent years at Stuart Hall School, where Thomas worked a regular detail for him.
“He was a great role model for the boys,” Guidry said. “Everybody, the teachers and everybody, were just totally, totally devastated by what has happened.”
The 52-year-old was attending the police academy when Hurricane Katrina hit. He stayed and served for the past eight years.
“I've never seen him raise his voice,” Guidry said. “Just the type of person, friendly, he could talk to anyone."
It's a sentiment echoed Monday by Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
“He's really the epitome of the kind of police officer that we want in the city of New Orleans. So our thoughts and our prayers go out to his family.”
Landrieu is donating $10,000 from his campaign funds to Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest of the suspect in the fatal hit and run of an NOPD officer.
If you know anything that can help investigators, call Crimestoppers at 822-1111.