NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams and his 78-year-old mother were carjacked at gunpoint Monday night (Oct. 16) in New Orleans, his spokesman said. “OPDA confirms that DA Williams and his 78-year-old mother were carjacked at gunpoint as he was helping her into a car,” office spokesman Keith Lampkin said in response to questions from Fox 8.
“DA Williams and his mother were unharmed and both thank the NOPD for their hard work tonight and every night responding to crime victims.”
The New Orleans Police Department says two armed suspects demanded Williams’ black Lincoln Navigator around 10 p.m. in the 1000 block of Race Street in the Lower Garden District. Williams says the suspects were not able to get very far, because he kept the key fob in his pocket.
Later in the evening, Williams and his wife Elizabeth appeared unharmed while discussing the night’s events with NOPD officers outside their home Tuesday around 12:40 a.m.
“It’s been a long night,” Williams told a Fox 8 reporter at the scene.
The NOPD said Williams’ SUV was recovered later at an undisclosed Uptown location.
Fox 8 spoke again with an emotional Williams at his office Tuesday just before noon. He said the masked suspects did not appear to be juveniles. He said they brandished high-powered automatic weapons and made off with some of his mother’s belongings.
Metropolitan Crime Commission president Rafael Goyeneche agreed with the DA that Williams and his mother are lucky to be alive.
“We’ve seen some carjackings that have ended in homicide,” Goyeneche said. “The line between a carjacking in which no one is injured and a carjacking where someone loses their life is a little pressure on the trigger of the firearm.”
Williams said his mother is still reliving the terror that unfolded within a matter of seconds near his home. He said those traumatic seconds can change crime victims’ lives forever.
“I think it’s important to reiterate that my mother and I are just a small fraction of the number of people impacted by violence in this city,” he said. “We have to collectively work on crime-prevention efforts, policing efforts and our prosecution efforts.”
The NOPD said the same three suspects carjacked a 22-year-old woman about 30 minutes later, just over a half-mile away in the 1800 block of Baronne Street. Her stolen Honda Civic was also recovered.
Williams said that if arrests are made in the case, his office will recuse itself from the prosecution. In that instance, the prosecution would be referred to the criminal division of Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office, which is under the direction of Williams’ predecessor, former Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.
A spokesperson for Williams says the DA only has security provided during work hours or work-related events.
Fox 8 reporters Chris Welty and Maddie Kerth contributed to this report.