New Orleans street dance party ends in shooting that leaves one man dead, one hospitalized

This story was published on | The Times-Picayune on Jan. 26, 2013.Image

A weekly street dance party dubbed “Conti Saturday” ended in violence Saturday night when one man was shot in the head and died at the scene. Another man was shot in the neck.

As they have every week for the past few months, about 150 people gathered Saturday night for the party in the 1800 block of Conti Street, partygoers said. A DJ spun rap and bounce music from a pick-up truck carrying subwoofers. At least one NOPD police car blocked off the street, witnesses said.

Suddenly, around 8:40 p.m., a man in a black hooded sweatshirt walked up to a 21-year-old man standing by the DJ. No words were exchanged between the two men before the man in the hooded sweatshirt pulled a gun from his waistband and fired a shot at close range into the victim’s head, witnesses said.

“He fell to the ground, but he was still (alive), so the gunman stood over him and shot him four more times in the chest,” said a 21-year-old woman who was dancing near the victim at the time. She requested anonymity because the shooter remains at large. “We were so close we saw the fire come out of the gun.”

The partygoers scattered instantly, she said. “We just kept running,” the woman said. “I was like, ‘Where are my friends? I got to get the f— out of here.'”

Seconds later, a second man was shot in the neck down the block, closer to the intersection of Conti and North Derbigny streets, witnesses said. That victim was transported to a local hospital, police said. His condition was not known late Saturday.

The murder victim’s body lay next to the DJ’s pick-up truck as police arrived and began investigating.

Family members at the crime scene identified him as Shaquille Cooper. His cousin, who was at the party, said he did not appear to be fighting with anyone.

“He seemed like he was enjoying himself,” said Cooper’s cousin, noting he would come to “Conti Saturday” nearly every week. “He felt comfortable around here.”

Cooper’s aunt said he would be missed by his family — especially his 2-year-old son, to whom he was a good father. “We love him.”

Police ask anyone with information on this shooting to contact NOPD Homicide Section at 504.658.5300 or Crimestoppers at 504.822.1111.

Roommate’s estranged boyfriend confesses to beating, strangling NY woman to death, NOPD says

This story was published on | The Times-Picayune on Jan. 15, 2013. Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 8.00.09 AM

A 39-year-old man confessed on Tuesday to beating and strangling his ex-girlfriend’s roommate to death late Sunday, police said. Authorities found Henry Dolliole in Jefferson Parish and brought him to NOPD headquarters where he admitted to brutally killing 26-year-old Lauren Tanski, said officer Garry Flot, a spokesman for the New Orleans Police Department.

Dolliole was booked into the Orleans Parish jail around 9:50 p.m. on a charge of first-degree murder, records show. Dolliole’s rap sheet includes several drug arrests, and in July 1992, he was booked with attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery. Those charges were later dropped.

Henry-Dolliole.jpg Henry Dolliole, 39, confessed on Tuesday to beating and strangling his ex-girlfriend’s roommate to death late Sunday night. Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office

Tanski was found beaten and strangled to death inside of her 7th Ward home in the 2000 block of Urquhart on Monday morning. The victim, who loved writing and photography, had moved from Albany, NY, to New Orleans in October.

According to co-workers of Tanski’s, Dolliole is the ex-boyfriend of Tanski’s roommate, Samantha Placek, 32. Both women worked as waitresses at the Corner Oyster House in the French Quarter. Employees there said Dolliole had made threats against Placek just hours before Tanski was killed.

“He was clearly crazy and always seemed like he was on something, but I just can’t believe something this horrible happened to her,” Tanski’s co-worker Andrew Santiago, 25, said.

Santiago said Tanski had moved into Placek’s apartment on Urquhart Street a couple of months ago, and that while Dolliole had never made threats against Tanski, she was unhappy in her living situation and had been planning to move out of the house on Monday.

According to Tanski’s close friend Raechelle Gonzalez, 21, a couple hours after Dolliole stormed the bar threatening Placek, around 8 p.m., Tanski finished up work and told her co-workers she was going home for the evening.

Gonzalez said she exchanged texts with her from around 8:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. After that, she never heard back from her friend. “I assumed she had just turned in for the night, or that maybe she wasn’t paying attention to her phone,” Gonzalez said.

Shortly before midnight, Tanski’s lifeless body was found by Placek and a third roommate, who had just returned home, according to Santiago. Tanski had been beaten and strangled, and was dead on the scene, authorities said.

“She was so was excited to be here and so excited to explore New Orleans,” Gonzalez later said of her lost friend. “We moved down here together to get a fresh start and enjoy the city. Now, she’ll never get the chance. She was the most wonderful person, just a really great friend.”

According to Tanski’s father, Leonard Tanski, his daughter was a creative free spirit who loved photography and writing. She attended college at SUNY Cobleskill in Albany but later transferred and finished up a liberal arts degree at a university in Virginia.

“She had just come home for Christmas, we just dropped her off at the airport a couple weeks ago,” said a shaken Leonard Tanski when reached by phone at his Albany home on Monday.

“You always see it on the news, but it’s always someone else’s kid, never yours. Now it’s happened to ours and we just can’t understand how this could happen. It’s too awful,” he said.