Investigators re-enact fatal police-involved shooting of Gentilly man


Posted on April 17, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 17 at 5:23 PM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- Six weeks after the execution of a search warrant turned deadly in Gentilly, investigators returned to the scene on Tuesday for a re-enactment of what happened.

It is part of the ongoing investigation into the shooting death of 20-year-old Wendell Allen by New Orleans Police Officer Joshua Colclough in March. Allen was not armed at the time.

Before the re-enactment, prayers pierced the Tuesday morning air both outside and inside the Gentilly home where Allen died.

"We're here to support this family, to pray for this family and let this family know that we are standing with this family in prayer," said Troy Lawrence, chairman of the SCLC Youth Ministries.

The incident unfolded last month when officers served a search warrant on the home looking for drugs. Allen was shot as he came down the stairway.

"He wasn't a drug dealer," said Natasha Allen, Wendell Allen's mother. "He was somebody; he was somebody."

New Orleans police cordoned off the area around the Allen home, as investigators and officers staged a re-enactment of what happened that night six weeks ago.

"We're here for the truth," said Rev. Norwood Thompson, Jr. of the SCLC. "The truth be told, here in the city of New Orleans, this is our Trayvon Martin case. We want justice to prevail."

The NOPD would not comment, but Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson said a video recording of the re-enactment is now part of the investigation. Her office helped push for the staging, which lasted about an hour.

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so that's what this was about today, so we can get a visual on what was going on," Hutson said. "You can hear the testimony of the officers -- we've heard that. But, really, if you want to just see what went on, it's better to have them positioned, so we can look and see."

"I think at this point, there has been a degree of transparency and we appreciate that," said Allen Family attorney Lionel Lon Burns.

However, Allen's mother said answers about exactly what happened are less clear.

"Tomorrow will be six weeks and I'm ready for answers," she said. "I need answers. I want to know what happened. I want to know why my son was killed."

In the meantime, the two men initially charged with possession with intent to distribute have had their charges downgraded by the district attorney's office to simple possession. As for the investigation into the fatal shooting, there is still no timetable set for when it will be completed.