Man shot by Jefferson Parish law enforcement officer speaks from hospital

Mocobizscene- A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy shot a 59-year-old man late Monday in Marrero after the man endangered the officer by driving towards her. The incident occurred during the Krewe of Music parade, where the deputy was directing traffic.

“The car swerved directly towards the officer,” shared Sheriff Joseph Lopinto. “Reacting swiftly, the officer quickly turned around and discharged a single shot.”

A video captured by a nearby business showcases the incident, with vehicles veering off the road and onto the curb. In the footage, an SUV comes to a halt and gradually inches forward before abruptly lunging into the street. Meanwhile, the deputy, positioned near the driver’s side of the vehicle, quickly retreats and manages to evade any harm.

Ernest Sam, a 59-year-old motorist from Marrero, recounted from his hospital bed on Tuesday that he had followed the deputy’s instructions and brought his vehicle to a full stop before the officer began shooting.

Sam recounted the incident, stating, “I stepped forward, and the deputy instructed me to halt. As she approached the truck, she fired her weapon.”

Sam and his family expressed their belief that the shooting was unjustified and unnecessary.

Post-parade traffic

The shooting took place at around 9 p.m. in the 5900 block of Lapalco Boulevard, as confirmed by Lopinto. The incident happened right after the Krewe of Music, making its debut in Jefferson Parish, had passed by the intersection of Ames and Lapalco boulevards. The shooting occurred in a parking lot nearby.

As vehicles were being allowed to leave the area, Sheriff Lopinto revealed that a driver in an SUV, identified as Sam, attempted to unlawfully exit the parking lot by driving over the grass and a curb.

According to Lopinto, the deputy initially had his back turned when he noticed the SUV and informed the driver that he was not allowed to exit in that direction. The SUV then abruptly moved towards the deputy, prompting her to fire a single shot.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto stated that the car was clearly moving forward towards their deputy, which prompted her immediate reaction.

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According to Lopinto, the deputies on duty at the parade route were actively fulfilling their responsibility of clearing the intersection and ensuring the safe evacuation of individuals from the area.

‘He wouldn’t hurt anybody’

Sam believed that he was using a legitimate exit when he noticed a line of cars forming to drive out of the parking lot at that particular spot.

The surveillance footage captures a deputy taking away a parking barrier at the site, thus enabling vehicles to exit the parking lot by driving over the grass and curb.

According to Sam, his nephew, who had been standing in front of him in line, left the same spot just a few moments before he attempted to do so.

Sam was taken aback when he noticed the deputy pointing a gun at him, despite not initially seeing her. However, he promptly complied with her instruction to stop.

After going home, she received a call at around 1 a.m., informing her that she could return to the hospital. When she arrived back at the hospital, she noticed that the deputies had already left.

Sheryl Sam emphatically stated that he has never been involved in any wrongdoing and firmly believes that he would never cause harm to anyone.

Sam described the encounter as a nightmarish experience that has left him emotionally shattered and in physical agony. He expressed his desire for justice and hopes that the department and the deputy involved will accept responsibility for what he believes was an unjustified shooting.

“I’m not a bad person,” Sam exclaimed. “There was no need for her to do that. Shooting me was completely unnecessary,” he added, his voice filled with disbelief.

Under investigation

In 2023, Jefferson Parish deputies shot 11 people, four of whom died, marking the highest number of such incidents in five years. Sam’s shooting adds to this alarming trend.

The investigation into Monday night’s shooting is still ongoing, according to Lopinto’s statement on Tuesday. It is currently unclear whether alcohol had any involvement in the altercation.

In the coming days, the department will gather statements from the unidentified deputy and witnesses, as stated by Lopinto. JPSO officials clarified that it is not their standard practice to reassign officers while conducting use-of-force investigations.

The authorities have stated that while they are reviewing the video footage from body-worn cameras, they are not releasing it to the public. The decision to make the video public or not is made by the sheriff on a case-by-case basis.

Authorities stated that Sam is currently not in custody at the sheriff’s office, and they have not yet decided if he will face any charges.

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