BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The suspect sought by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office for shooting a deputy Sunday morning has been fatally shot, according to Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.
The suspect was identified as Bernard Ledlow, 39.
Gautreaux said the deputy was grazed on his side by the suspect’s gunfire and has been released from the hospital. The deputy’s name was not released.
There was a confrontation when the deputies found him in the woods, according to Gautreaux. He added there was an officer safety bulletin put out on the suspect through the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office earlier in the year and he does have an extensive criminal history. EBRSO is handling the investigation.
Officials said they searched a wooded area off Hoo Shoo Too Road at Kendalwood Road near the Amite River for several hours for an armed gunman who shot a deputy during a chase.
EBRSO reported the incident began a little after 7 a.m. when a deputy tried to make a traffic stop on a Chevrolet Suburban at Airline Highway and Pecue Lane because the driver appeared to be falling asleep while behind the wheel and swerving in the road.
EBRSO added the driver refused to stop and the deputy followed the vehicle to Hoo Shoo Too Road and during the “slow speed” pursuit, the suspect fired at the deputy through the back windshield of the SUV before crashing at the end of Kendalwood Road around 7:30 a.m.
“Right in that area is when the suspect fired out of the back window at the pursuing vehicles in an attempt to stop them (deputies). He also fired at our deputy who was standing there that was deploying the spike strip,” said Sheriff Gautreaux.
The sheriff says deputies then chased Ledlow down Kendalwood Road around 7:30, where he crashed the Chevrolet Suburban he was driving, then shots were fired again.
“He (Ledlow) got out of his truck with an assault rifle and engaged two of the deputies. One of the deputies, as you know, was struck in his side. But thank God he was okay,” said Sheriff Gautreaux.
According to EBRSO, the suspect fired more shots and ran into the woods. Deputies set up a perimeter in the area and searched by air, water, and ground. Homes along the perimeter of the search area were evacuated for safety and those families have been allowed back home.
“Well I knew it was something serious when I saw the three policemen out in the front yard, shooting that way just to the left of my house, Where the guy had evidently wrecked his car or whatever back there,” said one neighbor who didn’t want to be identified.
Deputies had to evacuate neighbors like one woman who said she went to a nearby church.
“Made us all leave. Everybody in the house, and the lady next door, she came with us,” she said.
“We were not going to leave for the safety of the people in the area," Gautreaux said. “We are very relieved that the suspect is no longer a threat to the people who live back in that area.”
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome issued a statement about the shooting later in the afternoon.
“This morning our East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputies and assisting agencies showed bravery in the face of extreme danger,” she said. “A simple traffic stop escalated into reckless violence. I’m glad to hear the injured deputy has been released from the hospital. Please pray for a quick recovery.”
Louisiana State Police, the St. George Fire Department, EMS, EBR Constables Office, US Marshals, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Department of Corrections K-9 units all assisted in the search.
“We did find him (Ledlow) in the woods. There was a confrontation and I can tell you the suspect is deceased. And none of the deputies or the officers that were there during that confrontation were injured,” said Sheriff Gautreaux.
He also mentioned that the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office had put out an ‘officer safety bulletin’ on the suspect earlier this year.
And he did have a “pretty extensive criminal history.”
“Someone who’s threatened law enforcement possibly or whatever, or is a big threat to the community, they’ll put out a B.O.L.O. which goes to all the agencies, letting us know who this suspect is. And that he or she is considered armed or dangerous,” said Gautreaux.
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