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Denham Springs officer in critical condition after shootout
DENHAM SPRINGS - A police officer is in critical condition and a suspect is dead after a gunfight erupted at a shopping center in Livingston Parish Thursday afternoon.
The gunfire was first reported around 4 p.m. along South Range Avenue, just north of I-12. Officers with multiple agencies — local, state and federal — swarmed the strip mall and a second scene near the intersection of Eugene Street and US 190.
RELATED: Community rolling up sleeves to help wounded officer
Officers initially responded to the parking lot over a reported disturbance involving a man and a woman who were arguing. The suspect reportedly started shooting when police arrived, and officers returned fire.
Denham Springs Police Chief Rodney Walker said the shooter, identified as 30-year-old Justin Roberts, started driving away in an SUV and fired more shots as he drove past the officers. A Denham Springs police officer, identified as Corporal Shawn Kelly, was shot multiple times in the confrontation.
Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard told WBRZ that one of his deputies stopped Roberts near Eugene Street, and the deputy opened fire after the suspect approached with a gun.
The sheriff's office said Thursday night that Roberts was pronounced dead at a hospital. Kelly remains hospitalized in critical condition.
"The DSPD continues to ask for prayers for Corporal Shawn Kelly, his family and the entire DSPD family," police spokesman Scott Sterling said.
A blood drive at Our Lady of the Lake on Friday drew a crowd of 185 people who gave blood. Local groups, including the Livingston Parish Mafia Jeep Club, will gather in the parking lot where the shootout happened at 9 a.m. Saturday to pray for Kelly's recovery.
The Denham Springs Police Department said Friday morning that Kelly remains in critical condition. Another blood drive is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday at the Livingston Parish courthouse.
Read the full statement below.
Current Condition - Cpl Kelly’s status hasn’t changed over night or so far this morning. He’s still in critical condition and fighting for his life.
Hired - Post certified 1997 at the Louisiana State Police Training Academy.
LE History - began career in 1994 with Louisiana DOC and other state agencies before ultimately joining the DSPD in 2019 where he is a Taser instructor and field training officer. Cpl Kelly has received multiple commendations for his generous ways and positive attitude.
“Corporal Shawn Kelly is a life time public servant and is the type of officer who wants to respond to every call and help every person he can reach, which is why he was even where he was yesterday afternoon. Cpl Kelly is actually assigned to the traffic unit but never hesitated to help the uniform patrol officers as well. We ask that everyone continue their prayers for Cpl Kelly as he fights for his life. Thank you to everyone who has shown up to donate blood as well. The turnout has been tremendous.” -Sgt Scott Sterling
There will also be another blood drive at the Livingston parish courthouse on Monday starting at 9am.
Sport-N-Center in Denham Springs is selling shirts and hoodies to raise funds for Kelly's family. They can be purchased here.
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