"Those guys absolutely prevented a tragedy today"
A 41-year-old Ponchatoula man is in custody, charged with more than crimes, after Hammond Police officers and numerous LEO agencies partnered to investigate a series of suspicious packages delivered to sites around the Hammond area Friday.
Hammond Police Chief Edwin Bergeron, Jr., said Friday evening that officers have detained 41-year-old Walter Albritton, III, whose last known address was in Ponchatoula, in connection with a series of "terrorizing" crimes to include driving a motor vehicle through the Target store at lunchtime Friday afternoon.
"Those guys absolutely prevented a tragedy today," Bergeron told media gathered late Friday afternoon for a press conference at Hammond City Council chambers. It marked the end of a busy day that ran until late Friday night as officers and investigators from a multitude of law enforcement agencies reviewed four suspicious packages recovered--two on the campus Hammond Square, one at Sanderson Farms, and another at the Dollar General Store on Wardline Road.
As of late Friday, LEO said none of the four packages contained a live explosive.
"Bomb technicians on scene at all four locations have rendered all suspected explosive devices to be fake," officials from the City of Hammond released in a statement after dark on Friday. "The investigation has turned from an active scene to evidence recovery. We are expecting to complete this stage of our investigation by approximately 10:30 pm at which time anyone who has a vehicle in the crime scene at the mall will be able to retrieve their vehicle. Hammond Square will resume normal business tomorrow."
(Photo of suspect Walter Albrittton, III, provided by Hammond Police)