A police report released Monday says a sheriff’s deputy in central Louisiana shot and killed a man after his girlfriend jumped on the officer’s back, bit him and tried to grab his gun. But the girlfriend’s attorney disputed that account of last Thursday’s deadly encounter in the community of Mamou.
The lawyer, Joe Long, said 21-year-old Dequince Brown only jumped on the deputy’s back after the deputy shot her boyfriend, 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory. Long said his client told him that Guillory was lying on his stomach with his hands behind his back when the Evangeline Parish sheriff’s deputy fired the first shot at him.
Brown was arrested after the shooting on a charge of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.
Long said Brown was trying to stop the deputy from killing her boyfriend. He also questioned whether his client, at 5-foot-5 and 110 pounds (1.65 meters and 50 kilograms), could have overpowered the deputy.
“She’s very rattled,” said Long, whose client remained in jail Monday. “She never saw anybody murdered before her eyes before.”
The deputy was treated at a hospital for injuries that weren’t life-threatening, according to a State Police report. It didn’t name the deputy. The sheriff’s office referred all questions to State Police.
The State Police says the deputy’s patrol vehicle had an in-car camera system that will be analyzed.
On the night of the shooting, Brown and Guillory were riding a four-wheeler on gravel roads with plans to go “frogging,” catching frogs with their hands by flashlight, according to Long.
The deputy had responded to a reported theft of an all-terrain vehicle just after 4 a.m. before he stopped the four-wheeler that Guillory was driving, State Police said in a statement Monday. The deputy asked them for identification, but neither could produce any.
“During this initial interaction, Guillory struck the deputy in the head, knocking him to the ground, dazing him with a possible loss of consciousness,” the State Police statement says.
The deputy stood up, drew his gun and ordered Guillory to lie on the ground. Guillory heeded that command but began to struggle with the deputy when he tried to handcuff him, State Police said.
“During the struggle, Brown approached (the deputy) from behind,” the State Police report says. “Brown jumped on his back and placed her arm around his neck, punching him, pulling his hair, and attempting to grab his gun.”
According to the report, Brown said, “We are going to kill him,” before the deputy shot Guillory and ordered Brown to get off his back.
That account appears to be based on the deputy’s statements to State Police investigators. Detectives also interviewed Brown, but her lawyer said the State Police report diverges from the account she gave him after her arrest.
“The coroner’s report will tell the tale,” he said.
Long said the deputy became angry and screamed in Guillory’s face. Guillory shoved the deputy away and then punched him at least twice after the deputy shoved him back, Long said.
Guillory was walking back to the four-wheeler when the deputy pulled out his gun and ordered him onto the ground, according to Long. The deputy had a knee in Guillory’s back and told him to “quit moving,” the lawyer added. Guillory pleaded for his life and told the deputy that he had three children, Long said.
“At some point, out of nowhere, a shot rings out,” Long said.
After the first shot, Brown jumped on the deputy’s back and bit him in the neck before the deputy fired three more shots at Guillory, according to Long. Brown let go of the deputy “because she thinks she’s next,” Long added.
The deputy returned to his vehicle without checking on Guillory, but Brown grabbed the deputy’s handheld radio and called for help, her attorney said. Long said Brown tried to revive her boyfriend but didn’t see anyone else at the scene do the same after other officers arrived.
The deputy is white and Guillory was black, according to police.
The sheriff’s office is rural Evangeline Parish has been the focus of civil rights complaints. A recent Justice Department investigation concluded that the sheriff’s office _ and a police department in the parish _ routinely used unconstitutional “investigative holds” to arrest and jail hundreds of people for questioning during criminal investigations. These people often were strip-searched, held in cells without beds, toilets or showers and detained for at least three days without getting a chance to talk to loved ones or contest their arrests, the Justice Department said in a December 2016 report.