NEW ORLEANS – Evidence in the death of a man apparently shot as he stabbed his kidnap victim — after friends and family came to the woman's aid — will be turned over to a district attorney to determine if that was a justifiable homicide, authorities said Monday.
Scott Thomas, 29, was found shot Friday at an abandoned house in the Lafayette area, about 140 miles west of New Orleans, and autopsy results are pending, Lafayette Parish Sheriff's spokesman Kip Judice said.
Judice said the victim, Bethany Arceneaux, also 29, was rescued from the same home.
Thomas allegedly attacked Arceneaux with a knife and one of Arceneaux's family members shot Thomas to stop him, according to Judice.
Judice said the shooter — whom authorities are not identifying — apparently acted to save the life of Arcenaux. He said Arceneaux, who is the mother of Thomas' child, had been cut with a knife several times.
"We have interviewed the shooter in the case and we did not arrest him," Judice said by telephone from Lafyette.
However, Judice said that because a death is involved, pending autopsy results and other evidence must go to the district attorney for a decision on whether any other action — such as a grand jury hearing — is necessary.
Louisiana law states that a killing is justifiable when it is "reasonably believed" such intervention is necessary to protect another person.
Arceneaux was abducted from a Lafayette daycare center Wednesday evening after Thomas arrived and confronted Arceneaux, according to authorities.
Police said Thomas is believed to have forced Arceneaux into his car. Their child, about 2 years old, was left behind, unharmed.
On Friday, Judice said friends and family searched an area along a road where Thomas' car had been found after the abduction and entered a vacant house when they believed they heard screams.
"We went and got her in that house. We kicked doors down. It was like a movie unfolding," Arceneaux's brother, Ryan Arceneaux, told the The Advertiser of Lafeyette on Friday.
Video taken by the newspaper showed police, who also were searching the area, converging on the house after hearing shots. Later, a sobbing Arceneaux, blood visible on her legs and hand, was seen being carried to a vehicle.
She was released from a hospital last weekend.
The Advertiser reported that Bethany Arceneaux had filed a complaint with police on June 15, saying Thomas locked her in a house and threatened to kill both her and her son. A protective order against Thomas was issued two days later.