Travis Boys successfully eluded police twice before.
His third try on Sunday morning was his last.
A rookie cop and his supervisor spotted the man suspected in the killing of Officer Daryle Holloway as he tried to board an RTA bus in the Lower 9th Ward, about 24 hours after and three miles away from where his run from the law began.
Boys, 33, still had handcuffs around his wrists, but the shackles had apparently been broken, Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said during a press briefing in front of a memorial at NOPD headquarter dedicated to officers killed in the line of duty.
While the search for the alleged killer came to an end, the search for answers to two important questions remained: how was Boys, who reportedly was frisked after a Friday night arrest, able to get a gun and how was he able to gain access to the front of Holloway’s cruiser from the backseat?
Everything began with what seemed to be a routine arrested.
Boys was taken into custody Friday night on a count of aggravated battery, Harrison said. A .38-caliber gun was used in that incident.
Nightwatch officers at the NOPD’s 5th District station frisked Boys, Harrison said, and turned him over to daywatch officers so he could be brought to Orleans Parish Prison.
About 8 a.m. Saturday Holloway, 45, crashed his unit into a utility pole at Elysian Fields and North Claiborne avenues after an apparent struggle with Boys as he drove him to jail for booking. Holloway died about an hour later at Interim LSU Hospital. Authorities have not yet said if he died as a result of a gunshot wound or injuries suffered during the accident.
Boys quickly fled the scene of the crash. What police did find there, though, were two guns: the one that had been used in the incident Friday night and a second gun, a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, that investigator believe was used to shoot Holloway.
“How Boys was able to retrieve this weapon is still under investigation,” Harrison said.
Harrison confirmed that Holloway’s service weapon was still holstered and was not used.
“We realize this is an obvious issue,” Harrison said of Boys’ ability to somehow get a second gun. “Between training and internal investigations, we’re going to find out how that happened to ensure that absolutely never happens again.”
Harrison on Sunday did not address concerns about how Boys might have been able to gain access to the front seat. On Saturday, though, he said that aspect was under investigation.
A little while after the crash Saturday morning, officers spotted Boys in a Dodge pickup truck. It crashed into a home in St. Roch, and a foot chase began.
Authorities lost track of him and had an idea of his whereabouts but could not locate him, despite various efforts, including the use of K-9 units brought in to track his scent.
A perimeter set up in the St. Roch neighborhood remained in place from the afternoon well into the night, with a number of homes searched, but officers left with their suspect still at large.
“We don’t know how he was able to elude us, but we were relentless and we were not going to give up and we were not going to stop,” Harrison said.
While the dragnet set up to find and arrest Boys continued Sunday morning, it was the keen eye of the young officer and his supervisor who spotted him that brought an end to the search.
Boys tried to board a bus at St. Claude Avenue and Forstall Street at about 9 a.m. Sunday. The officers who spotted him sprang into action.
“Because of good police work and their tenacity, they were able to give chase to him. He tried to flee, but he was not able to maneuver and escape our officers a second time,” Harrison said.
Boys was dehydrated, and officials with the NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau, which is in charge of internal investigation, brought him to Interim LSU Hospital to be treated.
Once released he will be booked with first-degree murder, aggravated escape and illegal possession, in addition to the aggravated battery charge from the incident on Friday night.
Police have said Boys’ hands were cuffed behind his back and that he somehow was able to get them in front of him, possibly by being double jointed.
Holloway joined the NOPD in 1992 and was assigned to the 5th District, which patrols St. Claude, St. Roch and the Lower 9th Ward, since 1998.
“He told jokes, he was the life of roll call, he was the life of the platoon,” Harrison said Sunday. “You couldn’t be around him for longer than a minute or two without becoming his friend. … I’m going to miss him. We’re all going to miss him. And New Orleans is going to miss Daryle Holloway.”