METAIRIE (WVUE) – A 20-year-old New Orleans man was booked with second-degree murder Friday (Sept. 3), after admitting he fatally shot another motorist he cut in front of a Metairie gas station line, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said.
The arrest of Walter Sippio was announced at a Saturday news conference. As detectives were searching for Sippio’s vehicle Friday night, Lopinto said the suspect surrendered himself and the gun believed used to kill 36-year-old Dwayne Nosacka of Metairie. The fatal shooting was reported just after 4 p.m. at a Chevron fuel station at 2301 Clearview Pkwy.
The JPSO said multiple witnesses saw a white minivan driven by Sippio cut in front of a long line of unhappy customers waiting to fuel vehicles and gas cans at the station.
Lines have been long and tempers short amid a regional fuel shortage caused by Hurricane Ida’s disruption to Louisiana supply lines. After Sippio’s brazen intrusion into the line Friday afternoon, Nosacka stepped out of his vehicle to confront him, Lopinto said. After a heated argument, Sippio returned to his vehicle to retrieve a gun.
“This was a verbal altercation that he decided to take to another level,” Lopinto said.
According to witnesses and other evidence, Sippio pointed his gun and shot Nosacka one time in the chest, then fled the scene. Nosacka was rushed to a hospital, but did not survive his wound.
“Once (Sippio) pointed the gun, the victim put his hands up like to say, ‘What, you’re going to shoot me now?’” Lopinto said. “And that’s what he did.”
Lopinto said his homicide detectives already had identified Sippio as their suspect and were closing in on him based on vehicle records and a number of witnesses who reported his license plate. The suspect surrendered himself, the presumed murder weapon and even a pawn shop receipt to prove the gun was legally purchased.
The JPSO said Sippio “initially attempted to make a self-defense claim, but his accounts were contradicted by all of the witness accounts and on-scene evidence.” After being booked on the murder count, Sippio was jailed at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center with a bond set at $500,000.
“This is a senseless killing,” Lopinto said. “No one should be dying over gas.”
Following another Metairie road rage incident earlier in the week, in which a JPSO deputy fatally shot a motorist on Wednesday after she twice struck another deputy with her car on Veterans Boulevard, Lopinto again pleaded for calm from hurricane-stressed citizens.
“Right now, we need everyone to come together and cooler heads to prevail,” Lopinto said. “There’s been a lot of stress-related calls for service, is the best way to put it. If you listen to our radio, this is what most of our calls have been. … People waiting in long lines, it’s not something I can police. We can’t go from line to line and try to make it orderly. Things are slowly getting back, and I’m hoping that maybe next week we can be back to some sense of normalcy.”
As he did following Wednesday’s officer-involved shooting, Lopinto again pleaded for patience and courtesy from a community where storm recovery anxiety is high and essential supplies remain scarcer than usual.
“I let people make adult decisions,” Lopinto said. “It’s when they don’t act like adults that I have to get involved.”
Sippio faces a mandatory lifetime prison sentence if convicted on the second-degree murder allegation.
Written by Ken Daley