Sheriff: Man shot by deputy following I-10 crash was reaching for weapon, will be arrested
LAPLACE - During a fiery news conference held amid a storm of social media backlash, a sheriff said his deputy was "justified" when he shot and wounded a man who had been involved in a crash along I-10 over the weekend.
The St. John the Baptist Sheriff's Office said deputies were responding to a 911 call early Sunday morning about a vehicle partially submerged in a marsh after it went off a westbound on-ramp near U.S. 51.
Jacoby Williams, 20, was a passenger in the vehicle and was shot by a sheriff's deputy when he and the driver—Kendell Pembrook—got into a confrontation with law enforcement at the scene.
On Wednesday, St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre tried to shed light on what led to the gunfire.
According to the sheriff, Williams had an AK-47 in his lap when deputies opened the car door. Tregre said Williams initially complied with commands for him to put his hands up but resisted when a deputy grabbed his arm.
During the struggle, the sheriff said Williams reached for the weapon in his lap and a deputy fired a shot, striking Williams. After the shooting, Tregre said deputies rendered first aid and drove Williams to a hospital in a sheriff's office vehicle.
Family members said this week that Williams was still hospitalized in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his face.
"I believe they tried to save his life," Sheriff Tregre said. "And I believe that their efforts have proven so far that they've done a good job."
Tregre also refuted claims on social media that Pembrook, the other person in the car, contacted 911.
"I have no records to indicate that neither Mr. Kendell Pembrook or Mr. Jacoby Williams ever called St. John's Sheriff's Office or any other agency."
Tregre also accused Pembrook of making "threats" toward law enforcement online.
"Why don't you come in and speak to Louisiana State Police, based on everything that I've said today, and if anything is different than what I said today I welcome—no I challenge you to come in and say that," the sheriff said.
State Police said after the press conference Wednesday that an arrest warrant was obtained for Williams on four counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and a charge of resisting a police officer with force or violence. Williams will be taken into custody upon his release from the hospital.
Pembrook was also issued a citation for careless operation.
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