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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Hammond officer who shot unarmed man says he feared for his life

5 months 1 day 6 hours ago Friday, January 19 2024 Jan 19, 2024 January 19, 2024 5:40 PM January 19, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

HAMMOND - Two months after Lionell Jackson was shot in his Hammond home during a no-knock warrant, Internal Affairs sat down with each officer.

In audio obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit, the officer who pulled the trigger, Craig Dunn, told his account of the July 15th shooting.

The initial body-cam footage given to The Investigative Unit Wednesday led to questions on why Dunn did not have his body camera on and why he shot a man who was allegedly in his bed during the raid.

Dunn gave his account to investigators, saying after the door was open, the officers announced themselves as the police, and he and other officers gave several commands before clearing the living room and proceeded to the hallway.

According to Dunn, he saw Jackson running from the bathroom toward his bedroom after officers gave multiple commands to him to stop, and according to Dunn, Jackson did not comply. Dunn said he saw Jackson once he entered the hallway.

Dunn then explained what he saw before pulling the trigger. He said the lights were off and he could not see into the room.

"When we get to the threshold, I can see through the open door," Dunn said. "Obviously no body is there... I see most of him, he makes a motion to come at me with something in his right hand."

The object in Dunn's hand turned out to be a cell phone, but at the time, Dunn thought it could be a gun.

"I was the first one, so I felt my life was threatened, and I needed to protect the guys behind me," Dunn said.

Dunn also said he wasn't sure if another officer found a gun inside the home after the shooting.

The investigator also asked Dunn why his body camera was not activated. According to Dunn, he was wearing a camera and attempted to activate it, but was unaware of its status.

"I was more worried about the door of the residence," Dunn said.

Jackson's lawyer, Daryl Washington, said things did not add up during an interview Thursday.

"He didn't say anything," Washington said. "He didn't say, 'hey, I thought he had a gun in his hand, I thought he had a black object,' that's what someone who didn't mean to cause harm would've said. He didn't show compassion."

WBRZ reached out to Moudledoux, Bland, Legrand, and Brackett, LLC. the law firm listed as  Craig Dunn's representation on a civil lawsuit. They had no comment. 

Another attorney, J. Garrison Jordan, who is also representing Dunn, had this to say;

"It is our hope that everyone will take a deep breath and avoid rushing to judgment based on limited information. This case should not be tried in the media or in the court of public opinion. Based on all of the facts and circumstances as they existed at that time, it is my position that Officer Dunn acted appropriately."

When we asked Chief Edwin Bergeron for an interview on Thursday, a spokesperson said the city does not comment on pending litigation. 

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