COVINGTON - A Tammany Hills family is counting its blessings after surviving a home invasion and knife attack, and deputies say it wasn't the suspect's first crime that night.
At least two 911 calls came in from Third Street early Monday morning. Several other neighbors say they either heard or encountered the man trying to break into their homes. Two residents one street over say the same.
John Lampo was not as fortunate to be able to report an attempted break-in.
"One-thirty in the morning, my wife said, 'Somebody's knocking at the door.' I said, 'It's probably the dogs scratching,'" he recalled, "She said, 'No it sounds like something.' So I get up."
As Lampo went to his door to check out the sound, he said a man rushed in, bringing a story of being sought by a gunman and a whirlwind of terrifying actions to follow.
"He had my wife. He had a big ole knife, about five inches long, two inches wide, and I saw it, so I grabbed his wrist," said Lampo.
But Lampo says the man, identified by deputies as Emmitt Roach, had immense strength and seemed to be on drugs.
"Next thing I know, he's up there," he said, referring to the second story of his home, "He's got my son with his hand here, with the knife to his throat. He had that big knife trying to cut his throat."
All of this occurred in a home with three children, one, an 8-month-old, inches away from the struggle.
Down the street, St. Tammany deputies were already taking a report from a neighbor who said a man had tried to use a yard statue to break into his house.
The commotion from Lampo's home led the lawmen inside to make a quick arrest before anyone was injured.
"I'm 67-years-old and I've never had anything like that happen," he said, "Let me tell you something, it can happen to you. I didn't think it could ever happen to me."
Some Tammany Hills residents say they're feeling the same way more and more, as they believe crime has been on the climb and although there is steady police presence in the neighborhood, they'd like to see more. The sheriff's office says it's always open to requests for increased patrols.
Another issue residents say they believe, if addressed, could curb some of the crime, is adding more street lights. However, the parish says that issue has to be addressed by establishing a lighting district in the area.
That's something neighbors say they've tried to get going in the past, with no luck, but they're willing to try again now.
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