DA report shows man killed in officer-involved shootout threatened suicide

DA report shows man killed in officer-involved shootout threatened suicide

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Graphic videos of the deadly February shootout between Baton Rouge Police and a suspect were released by the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office Monday. The videos have been called disturbing and troubling.

The DA's office also gave more information on the troubled history of Calvin Smith, the man shown firing at officers.

Long before Smith led police on a chase that would ultimately end with his death, the 22-year-old was struggling with mental health issues, according to new records released by the DA's office.

"His family indicated through reports that he suffered from depression. He was on medicine but not always taking his medicine," said District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Moore said Smith would self-medicate with street drugs and had a troubled relationship with his ex-girlfriend. She filed a restraining order against him in January.

In text messages from Smith to a mutual friend, he threatened suicide over the breakup several times. In one message, he asked if he would be wrong to take her life along with his own.

The texts were sent three days before his shootout with police on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016.

According to the DA's report, that violent morning began with Smith banging on the door of his ex's apartment and then trashing a vehicle when he was ordered to leave. Police were called in, and Officers Theodore Smith and Sean Garic quickly caught up to the suspect. A short chase followed until Smith came to a stop on Fairfields Avenue.

Dash cam and body cam video from the two officers shows Smith immediately opening fire as he exited his vehicle on the officers. Both police officers were injured as they returned fire, fatally striking Smith.

"The actions of Officer Smith and Garic were not only warranted, but necessary to protect not only their own lives but possibly that of others," said Moore.

The coroner's report shows that Smith had alcohol, marijuana, and methamphetamines in his system at the time of his death.

Three months later, Fairfields Avenues shows no sign of the shootout that unfolded. However, neighbors said they still vividly remember the sound of gunfire.

One woman said her daughter still suffers nightmares and jumps at any loud noise. Several pointed out bullet holes in their walls. Watching the video, it's not hard to imagine the fear felt by the neighbors for their own safety.

Ballistic reports determined Calvin Smith fired 20 shots, while the officers fired 16 and 18 rounds, both emptying their clips.

"This matter could have been more tragic than it is," said Moore.

Moore said that his office went over the full report and videos with Smith's family before they were made public. While it was difficult, Moore said Smith's family hopes to reach out to others suffering from mental illness and raise awareness.

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