METAIRIE, La. (WWL-TV) – Jefferson Parish Investigators arrest a man for the killing of four people, in what’s described as a “drug rip” at a Metairie apartment.
Twenty-year-old, Armande Stephen Tart, was arrested and faces multiple charges. They include four counts of first degree murder, one count attempted first degree murder, one count of auto theft and one count of felon in possession of a firearm.
The past few days have been hard for residents trying to cope with what happened on the 2500 block of Pasadena Avenue Wednesday.
“It was devastating hearing that,” said Danielle Frost. “People lost their life and one is basically fighting for their life. It’s tragic.”
“People do make mistakes,” said one woman, who only spoke with Eyewitness News based on anonymity. “We all make mistakes, but should it cost you your life?”
Around 3:30 a.m. deputies were called to an apartment complex and found four people had been shot (three fatally) and a neighbor who officers say had been stabbed more than 40 times.
“In regards to the family members who were killed, I hope they do find peace,” said the lady. “I can’t imagine what that’d be like.”
On Friday afternoon, Sheriff Newell Normand held a news conference to give an update on the case. News some say brought relief.
“There’s been a lot of angst and anxiety throughout all of the neighborhoods around that area and in that area,” said Sheriff Normand. “We’ve had probably in excess 50 detectives working this case, and we are pleased to announce at this point in time, within 60 hours of this incident, that we have arrested Armande Stephen Tart.”
Describing Tart as a “cold-blooded killer”, Normand says the 20-year-old’s motive was to steal drugs.
“This was premeditated and planned,” he said. “We know there was a significant amount of Cocaine within that apartment. We also know the victims, we had previously arrested all of them for drugs.”
Knowing there were cameras, deputies say he tried to cover up his tracks both inside the apartment and outside.
“He took time out in order to remove any items from the apartment that could be linked back to him,” Sheriff Normand said. “We had video of him. He knew there was video and he secreted his identity by putting a sheet over his face, and at one point, he also attempted to destroy the video cameras by violently shaking the pole that they were on.”
Residents are pleased with the arrest.
“What goes through my head is that they got one person off the street that, you know, could’ve done more harm,” said Frost.
However, as the investigation continues, some worry it could happen again. Especially since there’ve been other incidents in the past.
“It makes me look back and think what if this was my son or someone I knew?” said one lady. “I think it’s probably not going to stop, it’s going to get worse. I just hope that for the family members who lost their loved ones that they can be consoled and just come to an understanding that God is with them.”
Sheriff Normand says Tart has a criminal history that includes truancy, Simple Criminal Damage, Possession of Marijuana, Theft of Goods, Illegal Carrying of Weapons, Possession of a Stolen Firearm, Possession of a Legend Drug (tendered a plea of guilty and issued one year hard labor) various occasions for attachments, Aggravated Flight from an Officer, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Flight from an Officer, and Probation Violations.
Sheriff Normand also says Tart’s arrest was a team effort and thanks everyone involved, especially the coroner.
Their work isn’t done however. Sheriff Normand says investigators are still looking for a car belonging to one of the victims. It’s a black, four-door, 2014 Acura TL with a temporary plate 17396693. That car was stolen on the night of the murder.
If you have any information on the vehicle’s whereabouts or anything that may help investigators, you’re encouraged to contact the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Department.