Accused gunman booked on 2 first-degree murder charges in Sunset, LA

Sunset shooting victim's sister talks
Sunset Police Chief Luis Padilla placing a black ribbon on the door of his PD in memory of Officer Nelson. (Source: WAFB)
Sunset Police Chief Luis Padilla placing a black ribbon on the door of his PD in memory of Officer Nelson. (Source: WAFB)
Henry Nelson (St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office)
Henry Nelson (St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office)
Shameka Johnson (Source: St. Landry Sheriff's Office)
Shameka Johnson (Source: St. Landry Sheriff's Office)
Harrison Lee Riley Jr. (Source: St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office)
Harrison Lee Riley Jr. (Source: St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office)

SUNSET, LA (WAFB) - The man accused of killing a police officer, stabbing three others and causing a convenience store to catch fire in Sunset has been placed in a maximum security lock-up.

Thursday was a somber day at the Sunset Police Department as dispatcher Latanier Monroe answers her call to duty just as she has every day for the last eight years. However, someone was missing

"It's hard. I keep looking at his truck waiting to on him to walk in. It's real hard," said Monroe.

Her cousin, Officer Henry Nelson, was shot and killed Wednesday evening while responding to a domestic stabbing incident less than a mile from the police department.

St. Landry sheriff's officials say 35-year-old Harrison Riley Jr. stabbed his wife, Courtney Jolivette-Riley. Investigators say two other women, who are sisters of the interim mayor of Grand Coteau, were stabbed while trying to help. 40-year-old Shameka Johnson died.

"She was the best sister, my road dog. We would travel, do everything together, from concerts to the NBA. She was very happy, lived a good life. Everybody loved her," said Mayor Shaterral Johnson about her sister, Shameka.

Detectives say sometime after Officer Nelson got to the house on Anna Street, Riley managed to get his hands on Nelson's gun and shot and killed him on the front lawn.

Surlay Johnson and and Riley's wife, Jolivette, were taken to the hospital and are now in stable condition. Another woman, 66-year-old Jacqueline Johnson, also received moderate injuries. Riley is cousins to both the Johnsons as well as Officer Nelson.

Sunset Police Chief Luis Padilla said he was there in a minute to render aid, but it was too late. Officer Nelson was already dead.

"I went straight to the officer. I wasn't worried about anybody else but the officer himself, and I went to him and rendered aid and then they said there was another shooting at the mini mart and I went there," said Padilla.

Chief Padilla secured a black ribbon onto the front door of the police department on Thursday morning in memory of his slain officer, who was known lovingly in the area as "Big Andrus." The chief can't seem to shake what happened.

Padilla said Nelson is the first officer he lost since he first took the job as chief in 1998. He hired Nelson in 2002. Padilla said Nelson had a special way about him.

"He would come in smiling, leave smiling. He's off duty smiling, walking around smiling. Just see his picture just like that 21," said Padilla.

After the incident on Anna Street, Riley then allegedly took off and crashed a car inside a gas station less than a mile away. People inside the mini-mart immediately fled. However when Riley tried to escape he was trapped by deputies who arrived, causing him to barricade himself inside the office.

Riley was later apprehended at the Sunset Mini Mart after a two-hour standoff with police. He is in the St. Landry Parish jail facing two first-degree murder charges among others.

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said they believe the suspect was under the influence of drugs, possibly PCP. Shortly after Riley was arrested, the gas station caught fire adding to the chaos. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said Riley is also charged with aggravated arson at Sunset Mini-Mart.

Sheriff Guidroz is expected to release more details at a news conference on Friday morning.

Chief Padillia is leaving the details to St. Landry sheriff's officials while he and his officers adjust to life with out their friend.

"We knew when he was coming and when he left he had the biggest laugh you could think of. You could hear him a mile away," said Padilla.

Big Andrus' warm smile and laughter filled the halls of the Sunset Police Department for more than a decade. His fellow officers have resumed their duties in a now silent police department because they say that is what he would want them to do.

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