Kenner Police Chief: 'Officer involved shooting justified'

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wwltv.com

Posted on November 11, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 6:39 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

KENNER, La. - Police are investigating an officer involved shooting, resulting in the death of a suspected car thief.

Police say an officer approached a stolen vehicle in a darken alley near Martinique and West Esplanade Avenues, Friday around 7pm.

Chief Steve Caraway says the officer parked in front of the car, walked around the vehicle, and noticed the driver lying over the front seat.

"He ordered (the driver) to show his hands, to exit the vehicle and shortly afterwards, he saw the tail lights of the vehicle come on and the vehicle proceeded toward him," said Caraway. "The officer had his gun drawn when he located the stolen vehicle as the vehicle proceeded towards him, he fired one shot, striking White in the head."

White died Sunday night.

His friends and family members on Mexico Street in New Orleans question the use of deadly force.

"I feel that the way he was shot, it was unjustified," said Adrian Gaines. "They could have shot the tires."

"It's just crazy," said Lisa White. "I just know my brother wasn't like that."

Lisa White also said she didn't know why her brother would have been driving around in a stolen vehicle.

Chief Caraway says one of Kenner's 25 license recognition cameras spotted the stolen 2009 Nissan Altima as the vehicle entered the city limits.

"The license plate was clear," said Caraway. "It was verified. The type of vehicle. It was the stolen vehicle from a burglary a few days earlier."

The car was reported stolen from a home in the 3600 block of Martinique on October 24. That's just one block away from where officers caught up with the vehicle Friday night.

"Inside the vehicle was a loaded, nine-millimeter, semi-automatic handgun in the driver's console, right next to to the drivers seat," said Caraway.

According to Kenner police, White had prior arrests in New Orleans for illegal possession of a firearm.

The chief did not name the officer involved in the shooting.

While an internal investigation continues, Caraway says he's satisfied the shooting was by the book.

The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the shooting investigation.

The Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office is expected to autopsy White's body on Tuesday.

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