Louisiana police officer killed, another wounded after vehicle chase; 2 suspects held
A Louisiana police officer was killed Friday and another was wounded following a vehicle chase in a New Orleans suburb, authorities said.
Authorities identified Mandeville Police Capt. Vincent “Vinny” Liberto Jr. as the officer who died from his injuries. Liberto had been the department since 1994 and served in the Marine Corps for 10 years.
"He leaves a wife who is grieving, children who are grieving," Sticker said about Liberto. "We have an agency that hasn't lost an officer in over 50 years that is grieving. The whole law enforcement community is grieving. We're a tight-knit community. This is a bad day for Mandeville Police Department."
Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker said at a news conference that the wounded officer, who's being treated at Lakeview Regional Medical Center, is expected to survive.
Witnesses said the chase began shortly before 2 p.m. after a traffic stop near State Routes 22 and 190. A suspect got out of the vehicle and allegedly shot at Liberto. Another officer arrived and was shot as well, WVUE-TV reported. It was unclear whether the officers returned fire.
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The last time a Mandeville police officer died in the line of duty was in 1958, the station reported.
“The only thing we can do right now is ask for the prayers of the community for the officer that is injured and for the person that is deceased,” Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere said.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith said two suspects are in custody and that a weapon has been recovered. The suspects' names and the possible charges they face weren't immediately released.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased officer and the injured officer," Smith said.
Sticker said Louisiana State Police are in charge of the investigation and would field questions regarding what led to the shooting.
Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted about the deadly attack.
"Our hearts go out to the officer’s family and friends, the people of Mandeville and the entire law enforcement community. Please join @FirstLadyOfLA and me in praying for our state today. #lagov #lalege," he posted.
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St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister said, "When something happens like this, we are all heartbroken," she said. "But we will come together to support the officers who put their lives on the lines to protect us."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.