Clerk of Court Lombard robbed, carjacked at gunpoint in Algiers

As Darren Lombard saw the men walk toward him Monday night in Algiers, he offered a polite hello, assuming they’d continue on their way.

Moments later, though, the three men ordered the clerk of Second City Court and his cousin to the ground. One of the men held a handgun.

The orders were standard: The cousins were to hand over their money, cell phones and keys.

In less than two minutes, the three men were gone, along with Lombard’s SUV.

“It was very fast,” Lombard said Wednesday.

Lombard and his cousin, Derrick, the son of 4th Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Edwin Lombard, were dropping off campaign signs for City Council candidate Nadine Ramsey when the carjacking happened.

It was about 11:30 p.m. Monday when the two cousins stopped in the 2900 block of Blair Street in Algiers. They were pulling out a few signs from the clerk’s Chevrolet Tahoe when the carjackers walked up.

“I said, ‘Hello. How are you doing?’” Lombard recalled. Then he saw the gun and heard the orders.

Lombard and his cousin got on the ground and followed the orders of the man who held the gun on them. When he told them to keep their heads down and not look at the robbers, they obeyed, hoping it would mean the episode would end without injury.

“I thought, ‘I just want to make it back home to my family,’” Lombard said.

After the men got the keys to the SUV, they began to toss out the campaign signs, then hopped into the SUV and sped away toward Patterson Drive.

Lombard, who was elected to the clerk’s post in November 2012, and his cousin were able to call police, who arrived in a few minutes.

“This is getting crazy,” Lombard said of the experience.

The Algiers native said it wasn’t until the past few years that he began to notice an uptick in crime on the West Bank of Orleans Parish. “Of course we had problems, but not like this,” he said of the random carjacking.

New Orleans police have not announced any arrests in the case.

This was the second time this year someone who works in the city’s court system was held up.

In May, Criminal District Court Judge Frank Marullo was carjacked outside his Uptown home by five men.

The judge said he did not see any of them carrying a gun. Nonetheless, he handed over his wallet and car keys, and the men got away in his 2011 Mercedes-Benz.

That incident ended with the men flipping over the car after a high-speed chase.

“These things happen when you live in the city,” the judge said at the time. “All of us are subject to it. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re a judge or a plumber.”