For the second time in less than a year, branches of Baton Rouge law enforcement gathered to announce the death of one of their own. East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Shawn Anderson, 43, was gunned down in the line of duty late Saturday evening.
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The shooting happened at Classic Cuts barbershop off O'Neal Lane just before 11 p.m. According to investigators, Sgt. Anderson was conducting an investigation there with another deputy and encountered a suspect. While investigators have not released any details about what happened next, shots were fired and both Anderson and the suspect were hurt. Anderson succumbed to his injuries at Ochsner Medical Center.
The suspect, now identified as Brandon Wiley, 30, was taken to the hospital and died on Tuesday, March 21, says Louisiana State Police.
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Sgt. Shawn Anderson had been with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office for nearly 18 years.
"We're focused on working with the family, praying for the family and making sure that our deputies have the help and the support that they need," EBRSO spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said.
One year ago, Anderson was recognized for bringing a life into the world. Anderson and two other deputies were flagged down by a pregnant woman and her husband on the way to the hospital March 19, 2016.
The mother, Laura Walsh, was in labor and knew she would not make it to the hospital. Sgt. Anderson delivered the baby, a healthy boy named Declan, on the side of Tiger Bend Road.
"As the baby came out and once I had the baby in my hands, she looked at me and said, ‘'please don’t let my baby die.’ And I, my brain just went to mush after that,” Sgt. Anderson told 9 News a few days later.
This blow to the tight-knit family of law enforcement comes as they’re still recovering from the 2016 loss of another deputy and two Baton Rouge police officers.
Messages of support and prayers spread across the city and online Sunday.
Roger Waggoner, senior pastor at Gospel Light Baptist Church, said the church just so happened to be having a program Sunday morning to uplift the men and women who protect our communities.
"Romans 8:28 says for we know God works all things out together for good to them who love him, for them who are called to his purpose," Waggoner said. "We know that the devil means for bad or what happens for bad. God always works them out for good, if we look for God in that."
"This is a tragedy for our community," Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said.
“Such a tragic event last night in Baton Rouge. Donna & I are praying for the family of the @EBRSheriff killed in the line of duty,” tweeted Governor John Bel Edwards.
Louisiana State Police has taken over the shooting investigation.
Meanwhile, city leaders and law enforcement are using this moment to send a clear message to everyone: Pull together as one and move forward.
"The world we live in, we don’t have to accept it, we don’t have to make it that way," said District Attorney Hillar Moore. "We have to make sure we make it better and people have to be respectful of other folks and people’s lives and then this kind of stuff wouldn’t happen."
"Always in the back of your mind, you're thinking about the deputies," Major Doug Cain with LSP added. "You're thinking about the family. You're thinking about law enforcement. It's been a tough year."
Sgt. Anderson began working at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office in May of 1999. He served in various divisions including Parish Prison, Narcotics, K-9, Emergency Services Unit, Maritime Response Team and SWAT. Sgt. Anderson also served in Uniform Patrol at Burbank, Scotlandville and most recently Kleinpeter substation.
Sgt. Anderson was presented the Life Saving Award in 2010 for saving the life of a woman on Old Mississippi River bridge. He was also recognized in 2014 for serving more than sixty high risk warrants in 2013 as a part of SWAT with no injuries or shots fired.
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