DA says deputy-involved shooting of a man was justified
BATON ROUGE – District Attorney Hillar Moore said that the deputies involved in a deadly officer involved shooting in February acted lawfully "to protect themselves and others."
Moore stated that on Feb. 23 around 8:30 p.m., the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office responded to a call of a woman who stated that Stevenson, her ex-boyfriend, had pepper-sprayed her and her daughter and threw a beer bottle at her. He then took the woman's car and fled the scene.
Deputies were able to speak with 48-year-old Travis Stevenson and got a ping from a cell phone tower that showed he was parked outside of a building near the corner of Eddie Robinson and Terrace Avenue.
According to Moore when the first deputy arrived, he parked his unit behind Stevenson blocking him in between the unit and the building. The deputy asked several times for Stevenson to step out of the car, to which he did not respond. The deputy then walked up to the Stevenson's window and used the back part of his pocket knife to shatter the window.
According to Moore, Stevenson then accelerated his vehicle back and forth, ramming his vehicle against the EBRSO unit. As a result, the deputy became boxed in a 3-4 foot space between Stevenson's car and another parked abandoned car that was nearby.
Five other deputies arrived on scene and stated multiple times for Stevenson to get out of the car, to which he did not respond a second time. According to Moore, deputies' shots struck and deflated one of Stevenson's tires however, Stevenson continued to accelerate his car back and forth when deputies began to fire shots.
Moore said that 20 casings were recovered from the scene and five bullets struck Stevenson. An autopsy revealed that Stevenson had THC, alcohol and other drugs in his system at the time of the shooting.
Moore also stated that Stevenson's phone was recovered from the scene showing a text that he typed just two minutes before the shooting, stating that he was going to kill himself. Moore said that unfortunately, Stevenson had "mental and emotional" issues as his mother was killed in a shooting when he was only six years old and his father, whom he had a close relationship with, died recently prior to the shooting. Moore went on to say that Stevenson was "severely depressed" for many years.
The DA's office met with Stevenson's family to deliver the findings as well. He stated that the deputies probably "never expected it to escalate to that point" and things "went down hill very quickly."
Moore said that the deputies were placed on administrative leave following the shooting, as is EBRSO protocol. It was unclear if the deputies have since returned back to work as Moore stated that it he was not sure what the time frame is for EBRSO protocol.
To view the full press conference see below: