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Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS -- Police have released the identity of a Hollygrove man who was shot to death and the New Orleans police officer who fired the fatal shot Sunday morning.

The deceased was identified as 31-year-old Keith Atkinson, and the officer involved was identified as eight-year veteran Officer Jonathan Hirdes, who has worked for police for eight years, according to Remi Braden, a spokesperson for the New Orleans Police Department.

According to John Gagliano, chief investigator for the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office, Atkinson 'was wounded a total of four times yesterday while he was in an upright position, and that each bullet was shot from a distance, rather than from at close range,' Braden said in a statement.

'Gagliano went on to say that Atkinson was shot once on the side of the torso, twice on his right arm and once on his right ankle. He said the only fatal wound was the one that entered the side of the torso. All others were non-life threatening,' Braden said.

Sunday, there was an eruption of anger when a Atkinson was fatally shot by a Officer Hirdes. Now the NOPD and the Independent Police Monitor are investigating. Emotions ran high as an angry crowd looked past the crime tape in disbelief.

'They barely had time to say freeze, they just started shooting. He fell on the ground and they kept shooting,' said the victim's brother. 'They stood over him like a dog.'

NOPD officials say two 2nd District officers were called to a nearby convenience store after a report of shoplifting, but it's unclear what happened next.

Witnesses says Atkinson ran from police and that is when one of the officers fired his gun. 'They used the full clip, he used all his bullets,' said the victim's brother, believing, 'He shot like 12 or 13 times.'

'I doubt if he did anything wrong in that store, this is where he hung out everyday,' said his cousin Alonquin Brown.

Atkinson's family called it an unjustified killing and now they want answers. 'He was a very loving person, he loved family to the bone,' said Brown. 'Loved by everybody, everybody say something good about him.'

While it is still early in the investigation, NOPD officials say the officers preceived a real threat. Investigators say the Atkinson was armed and that a .45 caliber handgun was found next to him.

'A serial number check on the gun shows it had been stolen from Baton Rouge in May of last year,' Braden said. 'Louisiana State Police forensics experts are currently running tests on it. The officer's gun was also confiscated and is now undergoing ballistics testing.'

The investigation is now in the hands of the Public Integrity Bureau Investigation Team and as that investigation continues, Serpas had a message for the grieving family.

'I will make a promise to them, and a promise to this community and to the officer involved and his family,' said Superintendent Ronal Serpas Sunday. 'We will investigate this thoroughly and completely to find out exactly what happened.'

NOPD officials say Officer Hirdes has been reassigned to desk duty pending the outcome of this investigation.

Witnesses also claim there is video of the shooting. Investigators are asking anyone who may have video or any other information about the shooting to come forward or call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

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