Suspects in cabbie's death linked to gangs, police say - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Suspects in cabbie's death linked to gangs, police say

Police say the three suspects in the fatal shooting of a cab driver in Gretna may be gang members who used social media to showcase a criminal lifestyle. Investigators also believe the trio may be linked to other crimes.

"They're on the young side of the criminal scale," said Gretna Police Deputy Chief Anthony Christiana. "It's unfortunate that we see this age group continuously involved in violent crime."

Three men, ages 17, 18 and 19 are accused of robbing and fatally shooting cab driver Blake Helmer Tuesday night near Hancock and Rupp streets.

"Normal people don't act this way," Christiana said. "This is truly, truly barbaric."

Christiana said the suspects used the Internet to boast about their lifestyle.

"If you go to any one of the social media networks out there, you're going to find that these individuals are indicating who they're affiliated with and who they represent in the gang world," he said.

Police said the suspects claim to be members of the Hot Block Gang and the Fischer Fools.

"These young men are in a situation that they are playing with fire and they just don't know how much fire they're playing with," said Christiana.

At the age of just 17, police say Jonah Brown has a violent criminal history, although they won't release details because it is his juvenile criminal record.

Tavon Corley, 19, was arrested in Jefferson Parish in 2011 for resisting an officer and interfering with a police investigation. In 2012, Gretna Police picked him up for disturbing the peace.

The third suspect, Ivory Warren, turned 18 on Tuesday – the day the cab driver was killed.

"Warren has no place to live, no place to stay, as we understand, and he has just embedded himself with these individuals and picked up their lifestyle," Christiana said.

Police say their investigation is expanding because the trio may be responsible for much more.

"In conjunction with the New Orleans Police Department and some incidents that they've had to look at, these individuals may have very, very strong links to some armed robberies and a shooting that occurred on the west bank," Christiana said.

The suspects are believed to be connected to at least five armed robberies in Gretna, and police say just yesterday, before the cabbie was killed, the three may have caused trouble at an unidentified school.

"These individuals actually showed up at a west bank school yesterday located in New Orleans, armed, tried to gain access to the campus area but were chased off or fled that area," Christiana said.

Police will continue to build their case.

"This is a young criminal element that needs to be dealt with," Christiana said. "We've dealt with them. We've taken them off the street. I see them staying in jail for a while."

The three are being held without bond in the Jefferson Parish jail.

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