KENNER, La.- There have been tTwo fatal shootings in a matter of three months in the city of Kenner and in each case, a police officer has used deadly force.
The most recent happened Tuesday night near the 1000 block of Clay Street during what police say was a drug bust. The fatal shooting left one man dead and another hospitalized.
It all started in the parking lot at Brother's Mart gas station on Airline Highway just before 9 p.m.
At the time, undercover narcotics officers were conducting an investigation that involved two men, including Eldrin Lauren Smart, 31, of Lutcher.
“They approached on foot, this was not a vehicle stop,” said Kenner Police Chief Steven Caraway. “These people were in the parking lot when detectives approached them.”
With guns drawn, two officers approached on either side of the car. Police say the passenger in the car, who has not been identified, cooperated with the officers.
However, the driver did not and that is when the officer on the passenger side of the car reached into the car to turn off the engine.
As the officer was leaning into the car to grab the keys Smart, the driver of the car, pulled the car into reverse and then fled down Clay street with the officer still inside the car.
“He hit three or four garbage cans when he was coming down the street so it was making a big, loud noise,” said Gary Forsythe, who lives on Clay Street.
Police say as Smart sped away he was hitting the officer and that is when the officer fired off four shots, hitting Smart three times in the torso and once in the head.
“These are split second decisions,” said Caraway. “This isn't something where you have to wait for something bad to happen before you act.”
Seconds later Smart’s car crashed into a parked truck.
“The pickup truck that was parked was rammed into from here and pushed up and he was underneath there and the truck was standing straight up like this,” said Forsythe.
Smart was pronounced dead on at the scene and both the passenger in the car, as well as the officer, were rushed to the hospital.
The passenger suffered a broken arm and is still hospitalized after undergoing surgery.
The officer, who suffered a neck injury, has since been treated and released.
Chief Caraway says each of the officers has more than 10 years with the department and says they acted accordingly.
The officer who fired his gun is now on paid administrative leave, which the chief says is standard for all officer-involved shootings. Once complete, the internal investigation will be sent to D.A. for review.