NOPD: Crimestoppers tip leads 4th suspect arrest in French Quarter beating, robbery

Rashaad Piper, left, and Nicholas Pogozelski
Rashaad Piper, left, and Nicholas Pogozelski

A tip to Crimestoppers helped New Orleans police capture the last of the four suspects in the brutal beating and robbery of a pair of Boston-area tourists visiting the French Quarter over the weekend, The Advocate reports.

Nicholas Pogozelski, 18, was arrested near the Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street after the tip, police said Wednesday. Police on Tuesday evening also arrested Rashaad Piper, 20, at a business in the 800 block of Conti Street in the French Quarter, where he was “hanging out,” authorities said.

Their two co-defendants in the case — Dejuan Paul, 21, and Joshua Simmons, 18 — had surrendered previously, after police released a disturbing video of the attack, which happened in the 200 block of Bienville Street and sent both Tim Byrne and James Curran to the hospital.

“This is the value of video, and this is what’s coming to the entire city,” NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said.

According to court records Wednesday, Simmons gave police a recorded statement in which he identified himself, Paul and Pogozelski as those responsible for robbing Byrne and Curran about 9 p.m. Saturday.

The four suspects are accused of second-degree robbery, which in Louisiana can carry up to 40 years in prison.

Byrne and Curran are computer systems specialists for the Unitarian Universalist Association, a religious group that was hosting its annual meeting in New Orleans this year.

Curran was released from the hospital relatively quickly and had returned to Boston by Monday.

Meanwhile, Byrne remained hospitalized with what authorities described as a serious brain injury, though police said he was breathing on his own again after being on a ventilator.

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