The Investigators: Family, police at odds if accused gunman is hero or vigilante

Authorities explain why charge filed in Pointe Coupee Parish deadly shooting
Mario Celestino (Source: Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office)
Mario Celestino (Source: Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office)

BATCHELOR, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana State Police reported a man was arrested after a deadly shooting in a small Louisiana community on Monday.

Troopers said Mark Gaspard, 24, of Innis, was booked on a manslaughter charge in the shooting death of Mario Celestino, 40. Bond was set at $100,000.

According to LSP, Gaspard is charged because the deputy did not ask for his assistance or to get involved in a "law enforcement situation."

The shooting happened in Innis, a small community near Batchelor, which is in rural Pointe Coupee Parish. Investigators said it happened in the 8300 block of LA 418 around 4 p.m.

Louisiana State Police was called in by the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office to assist with the investigation because a deputy with PCPSO was on the scene but did not fire his weapon.

The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office said Celestino allegedly kidnapped his ex-girlfriend's mother at gunpoint from her home in Avoyelles Parish. Deputies said he demanded the woman tell him where his ex-friend was.

According to officials, Celestino drove to Gaspard's house with his ex-girlfriend's mother in the car with him. They added Gaspard is dating the sister of Celestino's ex-girlfriend. The also said a deputy with PCPSO was at the house waiting for Celestino.

Celestino allegedly got out of the car with a weapon. Investigators stated when the deputy tried to put handcuffs on him, Celestino ran.

Authorities reported Gaspard then got involved in the situation and started running behind the deputy and Celestino in what they said they believe was an attempt to try to help the deputy. They added when Celestino stopped and turned around toward the deputy, Gaspard allegedly fired once and hit Celestino in the head, killing him.

The Investigators learned Celestino's ex-girlfriend got a restraining order against him January 2016. Her reason for doing so? She claimed in the order that he slapped, punched, choked, shoved, kicked, stalked, threatened bodily harm, her life, sexually abused and threatened her with a weapon.

According to the restraining order, she gave specifics on her most recent abuse incident on Nov. 11, 2015, saying Celestino "held gun to my head six times and used knuckles two times threatening as a weapon. Also, turned gun on himself and tried forcing my hand to pull trigger. Three separate occasions of sexual assault and violation while restrained."

The allegations go on saying things like she has had various items thrown at her from food, drinks, glass to furniture, had her leg smashed between an ottoman and sofa, shook her head holding her ears, spit in her face and hair. and if she refused him sex, she claims he kicked her out of the bed, shattered seven iPhones and two iPads and even fish-hooked the inside of her cheeks.

"This guy was a horrible, horrible person, but when police officers are doing their job, you got to step back and let them do their job. You just can't have a vigilante type attitude," said Pointe Coupee District Attorney's lead prosecutor Tony Clayton.

Clayton said it will be up to a grand jury to decide whether Gaspard should be indicted with manslaughter.

"So here the issue is did this person act reasonably? The standard is whether a reasonable person would have been in that same situation would have done the same thing, then his conduct will be forgiven so this reasonable man test is what we must present to the grand jury," said Clayton.

Authorities did not report any other injuries in connection with Monday's shooting.

Louisiana State Police is investigating the shooting, while the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating the kidnapping.

Copyright 2016 WAFB. All rights reserved.