SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Now that a Shreveport police officer has been cleared by the Caddo Parish DA in the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding Shreveport man, video and audio from the incident has been released.
Paramedics had been called to the home after a woman there called for help, reporting that the man was having difficulty breathing. Police would later describe 58-year-old John Shepherd as exhibiting "an altered level of consciousness."
At some point during the incident, police say Shepherd armed himself with a kitchen knife and became combative. EMS crew members who were there trying to help Shepherd were forced to retreat to safety.
The camera starts rolling the moment Officer Phillip Tucker gets orders from dispatch to respond to the call. As Officer Tucker arrives on the scene, his video shows him arming himself with a shotgun and walking towards the home to offer assistance.
The audio from Tucker's microphone is not clear, but you can faintly hear him giving Shepherd commands.
Dispatch can be heard asking Tucker if he needs help. Tucker replied "10-4."
Soon after that one shot rings out, and a figure in the distance can be seen dropping to the ground. That figure was Shepherd. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Shepherd had reportedly rushed toward Tucker holding a kitchen knife.
On Thursday, the Caddo Parish DA's Office cleared Tucker of any wrongdoing, saying he had no other choice but to use deadly force.
The Caddo District Attorney's Office addresses the question of whether less lethal force, such as a tazer, could have been used in this case, pointing out that Officer Tucker was not supported by backup from any other armed officers at the time.
"A suspect advancing on an officer with an edged weapon is a deadly force situation. When the officer has time to provide verbal warnings and the suspect continues to advance, the danger of the situation is only increased," the statement goes on to say.
The DA's office calls the incident a medical episode, which lead to Shepherd's erratic behavior and death.