Sylvester Holt: Double Murder Suspect In Critical Condition From Self-Inflicted Gunshot After Hours-Long Standoff On New Orleans Area Bridge [UPDATE]

Sylvester Holt is in critical condition after shooting himself in the chest following an hours-long standoff with police. Holt is a double homicide suspect and the subject of a massive manhunt in the New Orleans area on Friday. He was wanted in connection with the shooting deaths of Simone Neal and Westwego officer Michael Louviere.

“After hours of negotiation with the Louisiana State Police crisis negotiation team, he refused to surrender and he shot himself in the chest,” Louisiana State Police Trooper Melissa Matey told the press. “It was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest and EMS was on the scene and rendering aid to him. He was underneath the bridge on a metal walkway and they had to put a hoist down there to get the paramedics down and then they had to hoist him back up to the ambulance.”

Police believe Holt is responsible for the shooting death of Neal, which happened much earlier in the day, the exact time still unknown. Officer Louviere was still in uniform, headed home after working a night shift, when he stopped to help what he thought was a car accident.

It turns out that the car accident was deliberate and part of a domestic dispute between Holt and Veal early in the morning. It was after the car crashed that Holt allegedly turned a gun on the pregnant woman and shot her dead. Although early reports questioned Veal’s relationship to Holt, it was confirmed with public records that she was his wife. People reports that Simone Veal was laying in the highway after the accident and that Holt shot the Westwego officer who stopped to help them.

Officer Louviere reportedly checked on Sylvester Holt first and when he turned to check on Simone Veal, Holt shot him. Then, Holt reportedly shot Veal several more times before jumping in his truck and taking off.

A massive manhunt commenced with nearly 20 law enforcement agencies searching for Sylvester Holt. It was nearly 10 a.m. when a call came in about a possible jumper on the Crescent City Connection, a large bridge that connects the West Bank to the East Bank of New Orleans and crosses the Mississippi River.

Holt stopped traffic on the Crescent City Connection with a police standoff that lasted nearly seven hours. It was around 5:30 p.m., after hours of negotiating with Holt to climb back to safety and get some help, that the suspect reportedly shot himself in the chest while standing on a support girder of the bridge. Holt was then seen stumbling before he fell onto the girder.

Emergency responders were on hand and did make their way to Holt to give him aid at the scene before taking him to University Hospital. A first responder had to rappel down the side of the bridge to get to Holt, tether the suspect to himself, and lift him back up to street level on the bridge.

The Times-Picayune reports that Holt had a history of violence and was recently released from jail after being charged with the rape of another New Orleans-area woman. The accuser claims that she met Holt in a bar before getting into his car with him. At that point, she claims that Holt drove her to a residence in Metairie where he raped her at gunpoint.

Holt reportedly admitted to having sex with the woman accusing him of rape but argued that it was consensual. He also said that there was no gun involved. The charges were refused and Holt was released from jail on January 7 after his accuser ignored several messages from the district attorney’s office and then later said that she didn’t want to press charges.

Prior to the rape accusations against Holt, he was arrested in St. Bernard Parish when he was accused of threatening his ex-girlfriend with a gun and threatening to kill her. He also has a prior Jefferson Parish arrest from 2008 where he was charged with battery of a police officer.

UPDATE: Sylvester Holt was pronounced dead at University Hospital in New Orleans at 11:14 p.m. after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest roughly six hours earlier during a standoff with the police.

[Featured Image by Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Department]