DA releases report on 2016 officer-involved shootings

District Attorney Hillar Moore III (Photo Credit: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – In an effort to show more transparency and to create new best practices, the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s office issued its first annual review of deadly officer involved shootings in the parish. The review summarizes the five cases that unfolded in 2016.

The first occurred on February 16, 2016. Calvin Smith, 22, was killed by police following a savage shootout on Fairfields Avenue. Smith had allegedly threatened his ex-girlfriend before leading officers on a car chase. Dash cam video shows Smith opening fire on police with a rifle, hitting two officers as they returned fire. District Attorney Hillar Moore ruled the case a justifiable shooting.

A few weeks later on February 23, East Baton Rouge Deputies shoot and kill Travis Stevenson, 49, after he allegedly attacked his girlfriend and her daughter, and tried to run over officers responding to the case. The case was also ruled a justifiable shooting.

On July 5, Baton Rouge Police officers shoot and kill Alton Sterling after a reported altercation at the Triple S convenience store. Officers found a gun in his pocket. The Sterling case is currently under review by the Department of Justice.

Moore recused the DA’s office from the Sterling case. There is no indication from officials when the federal review will be released.

Two weeks later, Gavin Long ambushed Baton Rouge officers at a gas station, injuring three and killing police officers Matthew Gerald, Montrell Jackson, and Deputy Brad Garafola. Long was also killed. This case is pending final review from Louisiana State Police and the DA.

Then, on November 27, deputies shot and killed Terrell Walker, 48, after he allegedly shot his girlfriend and dumped her on Essen Lane before he attacked first responders and opened fire on responding officers. This case is pending final review from Louisiana State Police and the DA.

“I think we can only get better from these types of things,” said DA Hillar Moore.

Moore called the report an important milestone for the city. He says the review can help officials learn from old cases and help give the community more transparency.

“I do know from other cities that taking the time annually to sit down and review what we have experienced with officer involved shootings is necessary if we’re going to find a way to reduce them,” said Moore.

Moore also pointed out some alarming trends. Three of the five of the cases involved domestic violence, four began with gun violence, and at least four involved mental illness. Those statistics are well above the national average.

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