April 03, 2018  |  02:34 pm

During the early morning hours of April 1, 2018, the Saint Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office responded to multiple reports of vehicle burglaries in the Madisonville and Covington areas.

Shortly after 4:30 a.m., deputies observed a disabled vehicle near Highway 1085 and Highway 1077 and came in contact with John Halley (DOB 5/6/1993; 312 Primrose Lane, Covington). While deputies were speaking with Halley, it was determined that he was one of two individuals involved in the vehicle burglaries.

Deputies then observed the other vehicle believed to be involved in the burglaries, a black GMC Denali, in the area. It was later determined that vehicle was stolen late Saturday/early Sunday from a neighborhood in the Covington area.  Deputies attempted to make contact with the driver of the Denali, Joseph Johnson (DOB 2/24/1994; 77294 Sharp Road, Folsom), which resulted in a vehicle pursuit. 

The pursuit continued for several miles, with the vehicle ultimately becoming disabled off the roadway on Highway 1077 near Railroad Avenue. Deputies approached the vehicle. During the course of making contact with Johnson, he shot at deputies, striking Deputy Nail. At this time, deputies returned fire. 

During the exchange, STPSO Deputy Nail suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Johnson was also shot and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives have tied Halley and Johnson to at least nine vehicle burglaries that occurred throughout the parish during their weekend crime spree. Additionally, detectives have determined the gun used in Sunday morning’s incident was stolen out of a vehicle in Slidell during this same timeframe. 

Halley was arrested and booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail on the following charges:
LRS 14:69b(3) Illegal Possession of Stolen Things
LRS 14:62 Simple Burglary 
Additional charges for Halley are possible. 

This investigation is ongoing and we are analyzing and reviewing all evidence and have been in contact with our federal partners.

Deputy Nail, 36, underwent surgery Sunday morning at a local hospital. He was transferred off the ICU yesterday evening and remains in stable condition. Deputy Nail and his family have asked for privacy as he continues to recover. Nail has been with the agency since May of 2007. 

“I want to thank the community for its outpouring of prayers and support for our all of our deputies, who put their lives on the line every day to keep St. Tammany safe, and particularly for Deputy Nail during this time, and I ask for them to continue,” Sheriff Randy Smith said.