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Trucker ignored Texas police before fatal confrontation

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DENHAM SPRINGS - Investigators say the man who was ultimately shot by police after waving a gun in a crowded parking lot initially ignored orders from Texas State Police before driving into Louisiana.

Robert Kohl, 47, was gunned down when he pointed a pistol at Denham Springs Police officer. Another officer shot Kohl with a shotgun. He died later at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital.

Police say Kohl was stopped in Orange County Texas because he had driven his 18-wheeler for too many hours. There he was told to pull over and wait, but police say he ignored those orders and kept trucking into Louisiana.

At some point after he entered the state, Kohl contacted State Police and told them he was seeing law enforcement following him, but that wasn't the case, according to police.

Troopers convinced him to pull over in Denham Springs, where he was initially cited for a minor infraction and asked to wait until he could legally drive again.

Federal law prohibits big-rig drivers from trucking too many hours consecutively on the road.

"You want these professional drivers out there, working within the parameters of the law, making sure they're driving safely, making sure that they're not over extending themselves, that they're not driving drowsy," said Capt. Doug Cain with Louisiana State Police.

Kohl waited near the Bass Pro parking lot until the morning, when he contacted Livingston dispatch to see if he was okay to drive again, but the dispatcher told him to follow the orders from State Police.

A few hours later, Kohl's mother contacted the Denham Springs PD after her son called her acting strange.

"She explained to the 911 dispatcher that her son was a truck driver, described the truck he was driving, said he had suicidal tendencies, he was suicidal and asked the police to go do a welfare check on him," said Detective Glenn Lemoine, with Denham Springs Police.

Once police arrived, Kohl was outside of the vehicle, pacing near restaurants.

Police tried to talk him down, but he eventually drew a gun and pointed it at officers.

"When he first produced the weapon, he didn't point it anyone at that particular time again officers notified each other that he had a gun, and then he put the gun behind his head from his side, until he actually pointed the gun at one of the police officers, and that's when the other officer took a shot at him," said Lemoine.

Denham Springs Police are not releasing the name of the officer who took the shot, but say he is a five-year veteran of the force.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office is handling the investigation.


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