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All suspects arrested in graduation day killing of New Orleans grandmother

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 1:16 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2022 at 3:13 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - All four people believed to have been involved in the killing of Augustine Greenwood at Morris Jeff High School’s graduation ceremony are in custody.

Following the arrest of Brandon Rock, police say an unidentified 15-year-old, Frank Bartholomew, 49, and Laverne Duplessis, 40, turned themselves in on Wed., June 15.

Bartholomew was booked on a charge of obstruction of justice in a homicide. Duplessis is facing charges of manslaughter, obstruction, and carrying a firearm on a gun-free campus. Both are punishable by up to 40 years.

Frank Bartholomew and Laverne Duplessis are among three people arrested in connection to the...
Frank Bartholomew and Laverne Duplessis are among three people arrested in connection to the shooting death of Augustine Greenwood at the Morris Jeff High School graduation ceremony on May 31.(NOPD)(WVUE)

The 15-year-old juvenile male suspect was arrested and booked into the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center on a charge of possession of a firearm on a gun-free campus.

A third suspect, Brandon Rock, 18, was taken into custody on Fri., June 10. He is also accused of manslaughter.

Brandon Rock, 18, was booked Friday (June 10) on single counts of manslaughter and illegally...
Brandon Rock, 18, was booked Friday (June 10) on single counts of manslaughter and illegally carrying a weapon on school property in connection with the May 31 fatal shooting of 80-year-old Augustine Greenwood outside Morris Jeff High's graduation ceremony at Xavier University.(Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office)

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Greenwood, 80, was killed after watching her grandchild walk across the stage at Morris Jeff High School’s graduation ceremony on Xavier’s campus on Tues., May 31. She was laid to rest Friday in Gentilly.

Chief Shaun Ferguson says two Morris Jeff students were arguing in the parking lot outside when the suspects, who are either relatives or close friends of the students, escalated the altercation to gunfire.

New Orleans City Councilmember Oliver Thomas, whose children attend Morris Jeff’s high school and middle school, said he was outraged by the incident.

“You can’t go to graduation,” Thomas said. “You can’t go to second line. You can’t go to a birthday party. You can’t go to the restaurant. You can’t go to a bar on Magazine. You can’t go to the gas station. Where? Where can we go?”

“I was outraged. I couldn’t believe it happened at a graduation,” said Nicole McRettie, who participated in a second line for the victims’ families. “I just think it’s heartbreaking.”

“That’s a loss that’s indescribable. I can only imagine what that family and that child is going through,” second line organizer Rodrick Davis said. “We gotta stop this violence. We got to stop the violence. What is it gonna take for people to understand like enough is enough?”

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