NOPD officer shot to death in New Orleans East: ‘Our city is grieving,’ chief says

A New Orleans police officer was shot to death early Friday (Oct. 13) while on patrol in New Orleans East, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said. The accused shooter was also shot when one or more officers returned fire.

After hiding inside an apartment and ultimately surrendering to a SWAT team, Harrison said, the accused gunman was taken to a hospital where he was being treated Friday morning.

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Emily Lane

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NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

The shooting occurred about 12:15 a.m., near Cindy Place and the Interstate 10 Service Road. Harrison said four officers were patrolling the area when they “saw something that aroused their suspicion,” and caused them to exit a police car.

When one or more officers got out of the car, a gunman opened fire, striking one officer “several times,” and causing the officer to collapse at the scene, Harrison said. At least one officer returned fire, striking the gunman. The chief said the gunman was shot several times.

The officer was taken by EMS to University Medical Center, where Harrison said doctors pronounced the officer dead. No other officers or civilians were shot, said Harrison, who addressed reporters shortly before 4 a.m. from outside the hospital.

“This hurts. I can’t begin to tell you how much this hurts,” Harrison said.

At the request of the officer’s family, NOPD has not yet named the officer who was killed. The chief said some family members had not yet been notified. Harrison and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who also addressed reporters, said they had spoken to the family and had been consoling relatives, as well as other officers. 

The officer who was killed was assigned to NOPD’s 7th District, which polices New Orleans East, Harrison said.

“Just routine patrol. Just doing his job, doing exactly what the citizens expect him to do,” said Harrison, describing the officer’s actions before the fatal encounter.

After police shot the man who opened fired at them, Harrison said, the wounded gunman fled into an apartment. A SWAT team and negotiators responded to the scene, the chief said, and the man eventually peacefully surrendered.

Earlier: NOPD officer shot and killed in New Orleans East

There was a massive law enforcement presence at the shooting scene earlier in the morning.

A woman, who identified herself only as Cassie, said she and her neighbors had to evacuate their nearby apartment building early Friday. She said officers went around knocking on doors and ushered residents out of the building.

“It’s scary,” she said, not knowing then the reason for the police activity. “It has to be serious.”

About 3:10 a.m., an ambulance with its lights and sirens on pulled away from the scene, and several police vehicles began to drive off.

Authorities had not remarked on the gunman’s condition as of about 4 a.m.

It’s unclear how many shots were fired by the suspect or police, Harrison said, adding that the investigation is still active.

Arlinda Westbrook, superintendent of NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau, appeared with Harrison and Landrieu at the hospital press conference. Her unit’s Force Investigation Team is investigating the shooting of the suspect.

The department has made grief counselors and chaplains available to officers mourning their coworker’s death, Harrison said.

When the mayor and others speak at NOPD academy graduation, Landrieu said, they talk, among other things, of the danger that comes with the job.

“Unfortunately, our worst nightmares have come to be,” Landrieu said.

“Our department is grieving, our city is grieving and this family is grieving,” said Harrison. “We ask the city to pray for us.” 

The officer killed Friday is the first NOPD officer shot to death since Daryle Holloway was fatally shot in June 2015. His accused killer, Travis Boys, is set for trial Oct. 18.

Since Holloway’s death, other NOPD officers who have died in the line of duty in the last two years include Vernell Brown, who was fatally wounded in a July 2015 traffic crash; Natasha Hunter, who was killed in a June 2016 traffic crash; and Bryan Bordes, who died in after becoming ill while patrolling Bourbon Street in July 2016.

The officer is also the first NOPD officer to die since the off-duty deaths of Tony Mitchell, who was killed in an August 2016 traffic crash, and Anthony Pontiff, who died in August 2017 following a heart attack.

Staff writer Ken Daley contributed to this report. 

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