TANGIPAHOA, LA (WAFB) - A grand jury in Tangipahoa Parish was unable to find enough evidence to charge the deputy who shot and killed an unarmed teenager last year.
Officials say 18-year-old Cjavar "Dee Jay" Galmon was killed in August as officers responded to an incident outside of a club in Tangipahoa.
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Edward Daniel said Deputy William Phebus, 36, accidentally shot Galmon on Aug. 11. It happened at Club 81 in Tangipahoa around 2:30 a.m.
Sheriff Edward Daniel released the following statement on the grand jury's decision:
"This involved a very tragic fatality of a young man. My thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends of the deceased. I believed early on that this shooting was an accidental discharge during a very tense moment which involved a struggle to physically restrain and arrest an individual known to be in possession of a gun, when the deputy's gun accidentally discharged. The Grand Jury thoroughly considered all the evidence and eye witness testimony and concluded that the deputy committed no criminal act. This confirms TPSO original belief that the shooting was the result of a tragic accidental discharge."
According to reports, the sheriff's office was called out to the club to assist security because several fights had broken out there. There were reports at least one and possibly more of the people at the club were armed.
TPSO said witnesses told deputies 22-year-old Marquis Martin instigated the fight, had a gun and had fired shots into a crowd at a convenience store before the fight at the club.
Investigators reported Martin ran away when deputies went looking for him to question him, but he was caught after a short chase. Deputies said they were struggling with restraining and handcuffing Martin, who was reportedly trying to free his arms from them, when they saw someone running up to them. They added it was dark and the person was walking from between two cars.
According to reports, Phebus kept one hand on Martin, drew his gun with the other and pointed it at the person approaching. The sheriff's office said "an accidental discharge of a single round occurred." Galmon was hit and died at the scene.
Edwards said Galmon was unarmed and did nothing wrong.
Deputies said they found a .45 caliber handgun in Martin's waistband. They added it was confirmed that gun was used in a previous convenience store shooting. He was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail on several charges.
District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says at least 10 people testified in the case, including eye witnesses, law enforcement and State Police, who investigated the matter.
The attorney for Galmon's family says they plan to go forward with a civil suit.