HARVEY, La. — A pedestrian walking down a busy commercial strip of a New Orleans suburb in the middle of the afternoon shot a sheriff’s deputy multiple times, killing him, after being stopped by the officer Wednesday, an official said.
Col. John Fortunato, a Jefferson Parish sheriff’s spokesman, identified the officer as David F. Michel Jr., 51.
Fortunato said one suspect was in custody and hospitalized at University Medical Center in New Orleans for minor injuries believed to have been suffered in a struggle with Michel.
Investigators were still gathering details, Fortunato said, making a public plea for anyone who saw the shooting to come forward. He said, based on witness accounts so far, that Michel approached a pedestrian, a struggle followed, the suspect pulled a gun from his waistband and shot several times, fatally wounding Michel.
“The suspect pulled the weapon and fired several shots, including when the officer was down,” Fortunato said.
The reason the pedestrian was stopped was not immediately available, and it was unclear what prompted the shooting.
Sheriff Newell Normand was out of town but was returning immediately and planned a news conference for 10 p.m.
The suspect was captured after law enforcement agencies flooded the area, using dogs and helicopters.
Fortunato described the officer as a member of a street crimes unit.
“The normal operational tour of duty for these guys who work in street crimes is to drive around certain neighborhoods that we know are high-crime areas and make pedestrian stops, and make vehicle stops as well,” Fortunato said.
The shooting happened on Manhattan Boulevard near its intersection with Lapalco Boulevard, both heavily traveled thoroughfares in the area known as the West Bank, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans.
It was the year’s second shooting of a Jefferson officer.
Another member of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office was shot and wounded in January during a drug raid on a house in the Lower 9th Ward section of New Orleans.
Stephen Arnold was shot five times as he and others were trying to serve a warrant as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration raid on a house. The suspect in the shooting, Jarvis Hardy, has been indicted on eight counts, including attempted murder of a federal officer.