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Nine-year-old was in the room for drug raid's lethal confrontation; child was unhurt in gunfight that wounded three deputies and killed resident

1 week 5 days 1 hour ago Friday, June 07 2024 Jun 7, 2024 June 07, 2024 10:48 PM June 07, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - When Tyquarius Armstrong was killed in an exchange of gunfire with sheriff’s deputies during a drug raid at his Robertson Avenue home Thursday, his 9-year-old niece was in the room, Armstrong’s brother’s attorney said Friday.

Ron Haley, the attorney, said the girl was uninjured and was returned to her family. The sheriff’s office couldn’t confirm details but said a child was found to be in the house when investigators executed a search warrant that is part of a larger drug trafficking investigation.

Body camera video released by the sheriff’s office shows deputies announcing their presence before kicking open a bedroom door. When the door opens, a man in the bedroom raises and fires a gun.

One deputy was shot in the abdomen. A second had bullets hit his ballistic vest. A third deputy discovered later that he had been grazed by a bullet. The deputies returned fire, killing Armstrong, who was 21.

The injured deputies have been released from the hospital.

The sheriff’s office wouldn’t discuss details of the drug investigation, which is ongoing.

Haley said Armstrong’s brother, Deantoine Dunbar, was arrested Thursday, but not at the Robertson Avenue house.

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Hicks said Dunbar was found with a Glock switch, which causes a semi-automatic handgun to fire as an automatic weapon.

Haley said Commissioner Kinasiyumki “Kina” Kimble found that deputies had no probable cause for that arrest and released Dunbar.

On Friday night, detectives got an arrest warrant based on the same facts signed by Judge Fred Crifasi. Hicks said Dunbar will be arrested on that warrant.

Dunbar, 33, is also awaiting trial in a 2019 drug case in which he’s accused of possession of marijuana, powder cocaine and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. He has pleaded not guilty in that case and a trial is set for August.

Hicks on Friday disputed Haley’s assertion the day before that investigations had used a “no-knock” warrant for the search.

No-knock warrants have become controversial as the public has become more aware of the potential dangers of police forcing their way into a home or building, even with a judge’s order, when people inside don’t have any way of knowing that the armed intruders are law enforcement. Typically, they have been used in situations where police believed the element of surprise would help prevent evidence – such as drugs – from being destroyed while they made their way into a building to search it.

The warrant for the Robertson Avenue search was “knock and announce,” Hicks said.

The warrant and accompanying paperwork has not been filed with the Clerk of Court’s office – which would make it a public record. Hicks said releasing it would interfere with the continuing drug investigation.

Scott Courrege, an attorney and use-of-force consultant who worked in law enforcement for federal and local agencies, including the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, said the video released by the sheriff’s office in the Robertson Avenue search shows the investigators announcing themselves before entering the home.

“I teach narcotics investigations. I have a consulting company where I train police officers,” he said. “The two clips released looked very textbook.”

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