Family of man fatally shot by police in Hollygrove wants answer - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Family of man fatally shot by police in Hollygrove wants answers

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Stephanie Atkinson said she was in shock when she ran up to the scene in the 8600 block of Belfast Street Sunday morning, where her son, 31-year-old Keith Atkinson, had been shot by an NOPD officer.

"The lady next door kept saying he did nothing wrong," Atkinson said.

It happened just outside a convenience store in the Hollygrove neighborhood where Second District officers were responding to a shoplifting call.

Minutes later, Officer Jonathan Hirdes shot and killed Atkinson. An autopsy revealed he'd been shot four times from a distance: once in the side of his torso, twice in the right arm and once in the leg.

Investigators aren't saying whether Atkinson was a suspect in the shoplifting incident, but they did say a loaded gun was found next to his body. They say the gun had been stolen from Baton Rouge last year.

Monday night, a large crowd of loved ones and neighbors held a candlelight memorial just across the street from the scene.

"We want everything uncovered," said Rev. Calvin Franklin of Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church. "We want everybody made accountable for what happened."

NOPD officials promise a thorough investigation.

"A case like this reminds us that there is no such thing as a routine police call. All parties involved have a right and deserve to know what happened," said Chief Ronal Serpas.

As the investigation moves forward, Police Monitor Susan Hutson said she'll be watching every aspect of the probe.

"We are going to call it like we see it, as for the investigation and the use of force itself," Hutson said.

At the scene, there was a lot of emotion, Hutson said. People in the community were making accusations about what they say happened.

"They were saying this was not a good shooting and he was giving up," Hutson said. "We wrote all of that down, so now we are going to test that against the evidence that was collected on the scene."

Officer Hirdes' attorney said he's convinced the investigation will reveal the officer's life was threatened.

"This individual threatened the officer with a gun, and he responded the only way he could. He returned fire just the right number of times until the threat was terminated," said Attorney Eric Hessler.

Hirdes is on desk duty until the investigation is complete.

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