NEW ORLEANS – A 19-year-old suspect accused of killing a Louisiana sheriff's deputy faces four charges including first-degree murder Thursday, as a state reeling from that slaying learned that two more deputies were wounded in a separate incident.
The first shooting happened Wednesday when authorities say Jerman Neveaux shot a sheriff's deputy, David F. Michel Jr., three times in a New Orleans suburb in broad daylight and then escaped into the surrounding neighborhood. He was later captured.
The second happened early Thursday in northeast Louisiana when two deputies were shot trying to serve warrants. Both were in stable condition.
Neveaux faces four charges: first-degree murder, assault, battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said Wednesday that Neveaux shot Michel after Michel tried to search him. The sheriff said Neveaux was on probation and didn't want to go to jail if Michel found the weapon he was carrying.
"So he killed the deputy," Normand said. "What do you say about that?"
But Neveaux's grandmother Thursday accused authorities of beating up her grandson during his arrest. Yvette Neveaux told The Associated Press that hospital staff told family members Jerman Neveaux was being treated for broken ribs and a broken jaw.
"They beat him so bad," she said in a telephone interview. "They broke his ribs. They broke his jaw."
"He ain't but 95 pounds. He's a toothpick," she said.
Col. John Fortunato, a Jefferson Parish sheriff's office spokesman, said he had no details about how Neveaux was injured. He was checking to see if Neveaux was still at the hospital or had been taken to jail.
The sheriff said Neveaux was taken to the hospital Wednesday, suffering from a fractured eye socket and cuts and scrapes to his face.
Normand also said his office is investigating a video shown on local media of Neveaux's arrest. The video shows Neveaux "... being struck by our officers while attempting to gain control of Neveaux," the sheriff said. He said Neveaux was still armed at that time. Authorities are calling on the person who shot the video to come forward.
The sheriff described the swiftly unfolding incident during a late-night news conference: Michel noticed Neveaux walking behind another person who appeared nervous. Michel approached Neveaux and placed him against the police vehicle to search him. But Neveaux flipped around, "went chest to chest" with the officer, drew a gun, reached over Michel's shoulder and shot him in the back, Normand said. The sheriff said Neveaux fired twice more as Michel fell to the ground.
That sparked an intense manhunt for Neveaux through the neighborhood.
Neighborhood resident Geralisha Henderson said she went to her back door Wednesday to make sure it was locked after police combing her street said they were searching for a suspect, and she saw what appeared to be a young man hiding in the back of the yard. Frightened, she went to the street and waved for a police officer to come. When she peeked outside the back door again, she said the suspect saw her and asked to be let in.
"He was telling me 'Open the door, let me in,'" she said. "He looked scared."
She said she didn't see a gun. At that point, several officers rushed up and detained him. Henderson's mother, Alicia, said an officer later came back and told her the man was the suspect they were looking for.
The sheriff said Neveaux had been arrested in New Orleans in February for contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and possession of a firearm.
He pleaded guilty in June to possession of stolen property — the stolen gun — and was placed on probation.
The deputy leaves behind a wife, who authorities said also works for the sheriff's department. The sheriff's office spokesman said the officer's wife was sitting at a local restaurant on the street where the shooting occurred when she saw police vehicles speeding down the street. Worried, she called her husband.
"She reached out to him and obviously he didn't answer his phone," Fortunato said. When she returned to the office, she learned "... the horrible news."
Neveaux's grandmother said her grandson was living with her while trying to find a job. She wanted him to seek one at a nearby Wal-Mart.
She described her grandson as quiet and said he grew up in New Orleans, except for three years in Texas where his mother lives.
She said her grandson was a slow learner and suffered from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, caused by lead poisoning.
At the opposite end of the state, two sheriff's deputies were shot and wounded Thursday morning while trying to serve eight warrants ranging from burglary to resisting arrest on Rickie Wade Jr., said Ouachita Parish Sheriff Jay Russell.
Russell said one deputy entered the home and found Wade in a back room, while the other deputy remained outside covering a window. The deputy outside heard a scuffle and then a gunshot. When he entered the house, the sheriff said he was shot.
Wade was found several blocks away in another house and arrested.