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BRPD officer booked for negligent homicide after causing deadly crash on Government Street

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BATON ROUGE - A police officer was arrested for negligent homicide and other offenses after running a red light while rushing to a gunfight involving officers near Mid City earlier this month. 

The Baton Rouge Police Department said the situation unfolded Oct. 20 near the corner of Government Street and Park Boulevard. An officer was working extra duty late that night at a business in the area when he reported hearing gunshots nearby. When he went to investigate, he says bullets started flying in his direction.

BRPD says that officer called for help, and at least one officer returned fire at what was believed to be multiple shooters. 

As other members of BRPD rushed to lend aid, another officer was involved in a deadly crash several blocks away at the corner of Government Street and South Foster Drive. 

At least eight vehicles were involved in the collision, and one person was killed: 38-year-old Caleb Chappetta, who was deaf.

On Tuesday, BRPD announced the arrest of officer Sharmaine Buckley, 28, on charges of negligent homicide, two counts of negligent injuring, and reckless operation. Investigators determined that Buckley ran a red light and crashed into Chappetta's vehicle. 

The investigation found that the police unit was travelling at nearly 80 miles per hour as it entered the intersection. Lights and sirens were active, officials determined, but the officer made no apparent effort to slow down.

The Louisiana Association of the Deaf issued the following statement after Buckley's arrest: 

The Louisiana Association of the Deaf (LAD) and the Deaf community join the people of Baton Rouge in mourning the tragic and unnecessary death of Caleb Chappetta. Caleb was 38 years of age at the time of his passing, and his absence left a large void in the lives of his friends and family. LAD extends its deepest sympathy to the members of Caleb’s family and supports his relatives in their tragic loss. LAD truly appreciates the swift action by the Baton Rouge Police Department to seek accountability for Caleb’s untimely passing. To inquire further, you may contact our attorney, Dominick Bianca, at 225-925-2877.

Two officers were also injured in the crash and taken to a hospital that night. One was released the following day, but the other officer remained hospitalized for days. 

Police have yet to make any arrests in the initial shootout. 

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