New Orleans officer found shot to death in police cruiser
NEW ORLEANS - It's a scene no law enforcement officer ever wants to investigate.
The New Orleans Police Department says a 45-year-old Housing Authority of New Orleans officer was found shot to death inside his police cruiser early Sunday morning in Central City.
The driver's side window was broken out and the cruiser lights were still on when responding officers found the body. The cruiser had apparently hit a curb. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said the officer's car was found in drive.
"What we know right now is that he was fatally wounded, and it is just a sad day," Harrison said. "We are all very touched by it and our thoughts and prayers are with the chief, his family and the officers of the housing authority."
HANO police chief Robert Anderson said the officer had only been on the force two years and he is the first officer killed in the line of duty. The officer's identity hasn't been released.
Anderson said the officer was on patrol in an area where new mixed-income homes are under construction.
"Such a tragic loss," Anderson said. "We have never had an on-duty death in the department's history. We know the men and women of the NOPD will work to bring this to a conclusion."
As investigators continue to process the scene, there are still many unanswered questions as to what the motivation was behind the shooting and who exactly ambushed the young officer.
"It is a tough day," Harrison said. "It is a hard thing to watch one of your colleagues lose their life in the line of duty."
Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued the following statement:
"The death of this HANO police officer is an unspeakable tragedy, and a vile and cowardly act. Tragedies that involve our men and women in uniform affect our entire city and touch every member of our law enforcement community. We are deeply saddened by this loss, and our hearts and prayers are with the officer's friends and family and with the entire HANO family during this very difficult time.
"NOPD and HANO will work very closely to identify and arrest those responsible for this heinous assault. NOPD and HANO are part of the same close-knit law enforcement family that puts their lives on the line to protect and serve the people of New Orleans. Never are we more aware of the risk they face every day than we are on terrible days like this."
IMAGE: WWL-TV (Antwan Harris)