NEW ORLEANS – A man driving wildly down his New Orleans street, hitting other cars and homes after having an argument with his wife, was shot to death Saturday by a police officer, a police spokesman said.
Tyler Gamble said the man was shot after getting out of his car and getting into a fight with the officer. "The officer felt the need to defend himself with his weapon," Gamble said. Investigators do not believe the man was armed.
The officer was a homicide investigator who was working on an unrelated case in the Lower 9th Ward area when a resident flagged him down shortly after 9 a.m.
The rampage that led to the shooting happened after the dead man had an argument with his wife, Gamble said.
"He left the home in his vehicle and crashed through his fence," Gamble said. After that he hit a home across the street and several parked cars before crashing the car in a driveway about a block from his home.
The homicide detective — in full uniform because he had been to a funeral visitation for a fellow officer that morning — was flagged down by the resident. That officer called for backup around 9:15 a.m., Gamble said.
Both men were out of the car when the fight occurred, Gamble said.
The detective will be placed on administrative duty pending the completion of an investigation, in accordance with police department procedures following an officer-involved shooting.
Gamble said the city's independent police monitor, and a monitor overseeing police reforms under a federal court-backed reform plan were on the scene.
Police cordoned off about three blocks around the spot where the shooting happened in the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood near the Mississippi River.
It is a part of the city hard hit by flooding from levee failures during Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago and damage is still evident — with some early 20th century homes restored, some abandoned and others in various stages of renovation.
Saturday's officer-involved shooting was in a series of tribulations for the New Orleans Police Department, including two recent on-duty deaths. Officer Vernell Brown was fatally injured last week, struck by a car while investigating a vehicle fire. Brown's funeral was Saturday.
Last month, Officer Daryle Holloway was shot to death by a prisoner who somehow obtained a gun while in the back of a police cruiser.