Chief: Officer "had no choice but to open fire"

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Bossier Police Chief Mike Halphen said the shooting of a man by police on Oct. 2 was necessary after the man tackled the officer, punched him, and tried to pull the officer's gun from his holster.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Halphen said right after Sgt. Todd Hylbert pulled  42-year-old Scott Gray over on Old Minden Road, the officer was almost immediately attacked. According to Halphen, Sgt. Hylbert was "being pummeled" by Gray.

Halphen said when the second officer arrived, he drew his weapon and ordered Scott to stop. When Gray tried to get the gun out of the first officer's holster, Halphen says Officer Kary Syzska "had no choice but to open fire."  Gray was shot 5 times in the side, which Halphen says is consistent with training, and necessary because the first two shots did not stop Gray.

"Hopefully we don't have to shoot them, but if it comes down to an officer's life, we will," Halphen said.  Gray's last words, Halphen says, were "You just killed Jesus Christ."

An attorney for Gray's widow confirmed on Tuesday that Gray suffered bi-polar disorder, a chronic mental illness that can manifest itself in extreme religiosity and delusional beliefs.

After an investigation into the shooting by Bossier City's Internal Affairs Division and Criminal Investigations Division, the officers involved in the shooting, Sgt. Hylbert and Officer Szyska, were cleared. Halphen did emphasize the District Attorney will have the final say on any charges.

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