Sheriff: Killer dropped cell phone at scene of murders in Metairie

Without that evidence & a digital forensic JPSO lab, case may not be solved

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
June 19, 2019 - 12:17 pm

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto says a killer who randomly selected four victims to murder in Metairie and New Orleans left his cell phone at the crime scene on West Metairie Avenue.

Lopinto says they were able to identify the suspect through forensic analysis of the phone.

"This was a subject that went around and was shooting indiscriminately. We are talking about random victims.  We have not been able to identify any connection between the victims and the suspect."

Detectives say after learning his identity from his phone, they then found a .40 caliber handgun in 22-year-old Sean Barrette's laundry basket at his home.  The sheriff says the ballistics matched the three murders in Metairie on Tuesday and one in New Orleans June 6th as well.  The same gun was allegedly used in another shooting in New Orleans where shots were fired, but no one was hit.

He had gone "on a killing spree over the last couple of weeks," according to the sheriff.

Lopinto says it's a good thing they caught him just hours after he starting killing people in Metairie Tuesday "to prevent a lot of more tragedy that very well could have occured in this case." 

The suspect had posted a cryptic message to Facebook last month.

The header image on his Facebook page is of drug lord Pablo Escobar according to a Google reverse image search.

Barrette surrendered to the JPSO SWAT Team outside his home on Trefmy Avenue in Metairie. 

Lopinto says Barrette has a history of being committed for mental health treatment.  The sheriff says in April the 22-year-old shot himself in the hand before being committed on an order of protective custody.  He was also committed in December.

The sheriff says they have not been able to get any information from the suspect.

"Sean Barrette has not cooperated with us... he has refused to cooperate with us."

Jefferson Parish Victim Information From JPSO:

  • The first shooting occurred on June 17 at around 11:12 pm near the intersection of West Metairie and Henry Landry. A 22-year-old man, Isai Cadalzo, was shot multiple times and later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
  • The second incident occurred on June 18 around 4:19 pm near the intersection of West Metairie and North Starrett. Two victims, Manuel Caronia 45, and Nicky Roseau, 57, both suffering from gunshot wounds, were pronounced dead on scene.

While two of the victims have hispanic names, Lopinto says they have no evidence that race was a factor is Barrette's selection of the victims.

What about accomplices?

"I do not have any reason to believe anybody else was involved in this," Lopinto said. "We are not looking for anybody."

The sheriff also noted that if JPSO wasn't one of the few agencies in the nation with its own digital forensics lab, this case may well still not be solved.  He explained that finding and cracking that phone was key.

"In many jurisdictions around the country it would be sitting in an evidence bag waiting to go to a crime lab someplace else. Having that ability to be able to run that here, in house, to be able to get that information within 12 hours really probably prevented a lot bigger tragedy."

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