NEW ORLEANS - An NOPD officer responding to a shoplifting call shot and killed a 31-year-old man in the 8600 block of Belfast Sunday morning, according to Police Chief Ronal Serpas.
Police said the man who was shot and killed was armed with a .45 caliber handgun.
The officer who fired the fatal shot has been reassigned pending an investigation by detectives with the Public Integrity Bureau.
The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m.
Serpas said two officers in a patrol car responded to the call and that about four minutes after arriving at the scene, one of the officers relayed an "officer needs assistance call."
Serpas said it was not known if the man who was killed fired at police or why the officer fired at him.
Several neighbors were angered by the shooting and said the officer overreacted. "They barely had time to say 'freeze,' and they were shooting. We all ducked down and they kept shooting him like a dog," said one man on the scene.
Neither the identity of the man who was killed, nor the officer were released.
The gun found next to the deceased man was taken to Baton Rouge where Louisiana State Police forensic experts were scheduled to run it through DNA testing. The officer's gun was also taken for examination.
Serpas said he had spoken to the man’s parents and vowed a thorough and transparent probe of the incident.
“It is always a sad day, when there is a loss of life. I spoke with the man’s father on the scene, and then went to the man’s mother’s home with Deputy Chief Arlinda Westbrook to speak with the mother privately. I made a promise to the parents, as I do to the family of the officer involved, that we will investigate this matter thoroughly and completely to get an accurate account of exactly what took place.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Force Investigation Team at (504) 685-6800 or CrimeStoppers at (504)822-1111.