and JEAN L. KAESS
MORGAN CITY, La. — Police continue to search for the men responsible for an armed robbery at the Mi Ranchito store Thursday morning in Morgan City.
Shortly before 10 a.m., as the owners were preparing to open the store, three males entered the building through a rear door. At least one of them was armed with a black revolver, and he forced the owner into a cooler, according to Assistant Chief Glenn Blanco.
During the ensuing struggle, one shot was fired, and the bullet grazed the owner’s head, Blanco said. Another assailant struck the owner with a bottle.
The male owner and at least two women were inside the store at the time of the robbery. The assailants were not able to take any cash. All three suspects exited via the rear door through which they had entered, the chief said.
The suspects’ vehicle was last reported moving eastbound on Chennault Street with four men inside. The vehicle is described as a blue Ford Aerostar minivan with the license plate FTP4497, Blanco said. The license plate itself is orange in color.
Police are not ready to release the name of the person the license plate is registered to because they are tracking down that person to determine how the vehicle got to Louisiana. They did note that the plate is the correct one for the vehicle.
Investigators continue to review video surveillance in an effort to identify the suspects.
The victim was treated at Teche Regional Medical Center in Morgan City and later released. His injuries were not deemed to be life-threatening, Blanco said.
Wyandotte Elementary School, about two blocks away from Mi Ranchito, was placed on lockdown from roughly 10:25 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Keith Thibodeaux, St. Mary Schools assistant superintendent, said the students were not in the Code Red lockdown where they are hiding in a corner. Rather, the lockdown consisted of locking doors and placing a patrol car at the school as a precaution.
Morgan City police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the suspects:
—Suspect 1: Male, unknown race, wearing a grey long-sleeve hoodie. The number “18” was on the left chest of the shirt, and he had on dark pants.
He was wearing light colored gloves, possibly leather or latex. He was armed with a gun, possibly a revolver, Blanco said.
—Suspect 2: Male, unknown race, dark grey or black long-sleeve shirt. He was wearing dark pants and wearing light colored latex or leather gloves.
—Suspect 3: Male, probably white, possibly Hispanic, with a goatee, wearing black-and-white or grey-and-white plaid long-sleeve shirt with a hoodie. He had a baseball cap on his head under the hoodie, and he had on dark pants. His pants were sagging during the altercation with one of the employees, and he was wearing red basketball type gym shorts underneath his pants, Blanco said. He had on black shoes with white soles. He was also wearing light colored leather or latex gloves, Blanco said.
—Suspect 4: Male, unknown race. He is possibly the driver of the van that was seen leaving from the area, Blanco said.
All suspects, except for the third suspect, were wearing a ski-type mask, Blanco said.
These men are considered armed and dangerous. If they are spotted, call local law enforcement, Blanco said.
Any person with information that might aid the investigation is asked to call the Morgan City Police Detective Division at 985-380-4605.