Lafayette police responded to a disturbance call at a Circle K gas station at around 8 p.m. on Friday. Police then followed the alleged suspect as he walked about half a mile from the Circle K to a nearby Shell gas station. Per Louisiana State Police spokesman Trooper Derek Senegal, this is when things turned violent.
The police tasered the man, but he kept walking. This prompted at least one of the responding officers to fire their weapon, shooting the suspect multiple times. 18-year-old Rickasha Montgomery was at the scene and filmed the incident. She claims that the victim appeared to have a knife in his hand and was shot as soon as he reached the door of the Shell.
"When I heard the gunshots, I couldn't hold my phone like I was first filming," she explained. "I feel kind of scared about it. I'm traumatized. You're so used to hearing about this, but I never thought I would experience it."
The Lafayette police have handed the investigation over to the Louisiana State Police department. According to reports, at least 6 officers responded to the call and close to 11 shots were eventually fired. Authorities have not identified the man or stated whether the shooting was fatal. Senegal also declined to reveal if the man had a weapon or what state the victim was in before the shooting. Yet, interim Police Chief Scott Morgan told the media that the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave with pay until an investigation is over.
Montgomery's video has not been confirmed by police as an account of events, but it has started to circulate the internet. In the footage, viewers can see a man in a white shirt being shot multiple times before falling to the ground. It has bothered people, prompting local officials to speak out.
"How much time did they have to diffuse it?... How much time did they have to do something other than freaking shoot?" The president of the Lafayette chapter of the NAACP, Marja Broussard, asks. "I think that so much more could have been done."
This shooting is the third time an on-duty Lafayette police officer has shot a person in five weeks—the fourth in 2020. As a result, the community wants the department to be fully transparent with their investigation to explain why this keeps happening. Morgan makes it clear that the police department will be as transparent as possible as well as continue to work with community leaders while this investigation develops.
"We actually look to them (community leaders) for help in these types of circumstances," Morgan said. "That’s the working relationship the Lafayette Police Department has. We’re not trying to hide anything. We involve them because we want them to have some knowledge of what’s going and an assurance that we’re not going to intervene in the investigation and we’re going to do the right thing."