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Experts analyze NOPD body camera footage from Uptown shootout

"From looking at it, I think the officers did an excellent job. In all aspects."


Newly released video from the NOPD gives the public a glimpse of how last Tuesday’s shootout with armed robbery suspects unfolded.

Police released different angles from the scene, three from the officers’ body-worn cameras.

The video starts with the CVS surveillance camera. 

Two suspects, 26-year-old Richard Sansbury and 18-year-old Alan Parson spill bottles of pills out of a trash bag near the front door.

Police say the men barged into the pharmacy, tied up two employees with zip ties and raided a safe full of prescription drugs. 

When police arrive, they notice the suspects were armed. As authorities tried to defuse the situation, there’s gunfire. One of the officers is hit. 

He scrambles for cover, with his eyes still on the front door. 

The suspects then come out into the parking lot where the shootout reaches its peak. 

"That door's recessed and he's got to expose himself to look in,” PANO Attorney Eric Hessler said. 

Eyewitness News showed the video to Hessler. He is also a former NOPD officer and SWAT team member. 

"From looking at it, I think the officers did an excellent job. In all aspects,” Hessler said. 

Considering the situation they were in, Hessler believes that the Officer’s training kicked in. 

“The cover was what they had available and they made good use of it. You can see by the different camera angles that to a certain extent they were still exposed and as these two perpetrators are moving, the angles are changing. And you could see the officers successfully deal with that too by moving in a direction that gives them a better line of fire,” Hessler said. 

RELATED: NOPD releases footage from shootout with armed robbery suspects at Uptown CVS

We also asked the Office of the Independent Police Monitor for their opinion. 

"It's very shocking and I think as some people have said to us it looks like something that you would see in the movie theater,” Tonya McClary, Chief Monitor said. 

McClary says that it’s too early to say if the use of force was justified. But one thing they are looking at is bystander endangerment. 

"Were there people that were potentially in danger from the crossfire between the people that were robbing the CVS as well as the New Orleans Police Department. Because they're still gathering information. They're still conducting their investigation we can't say right now...but we do want the public to know that is one of the things that we look at and we get concerned about,” McClary said. 

Superintendent Shaun Ferguson says the video shows Sansbury and Parson fired the first shot. He also says the officers were not obligated to wait until they were fired upon, saying they could open fire if they perceived the two armed suspects as a threat to them or to the public.