Dash camera video, interview detail what happened when SPD chief fired during chase

Dash camera video, interview detail what happened when SPD chief fired during chase

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - KSLA Investigates has obtained police dash camera video of a pursuit Oct. 30 during which Shreveport Police Chief Alan Crump and one of his officers fired their guns.

Caddo District Attorney James Stewart this week cleared Crump and Lt. Matthew Prunty of any criminal wrongdoing.

Through an open records request, KSLA Investigates also obtained audio recordings of Crump's and Prunty's interviews with SPD about the shooting.

In those recordings obtained from the district attorney's office, Crump said he first became involved in the chase while patrolling the area where Jewella Avenue crosses onto Mansfield Road.

"The information starts to come across the radio about someone being shot," the police chief said. "There was a lot of confusion about who actually was shot, the person who was trying to tell me who the victim was."

That call went out just after 2 p.m. when a Shreveport business owner found three suspects attempting to break into his car parked behind M.J.'s Culinary Cuisine and Catering in the 2500 block of Hollywood Avenue.

One of three allegedly produced a gun during the encounter and the business owner, who also was armed, fired at them, striking 17-year-old Tacorey Banks in the head.

Banks later died.

The other two suspects, 17-year-olds Darrien Miles and Xavier Thomas, took off running.

It was after the call went out over the radio, Crump tells investigators in the audio recordings, that he saw one of his fellow officers speed by in their unit, sirens blaring, and he decided to follow.

"The information starts to be relayed about a foot pursuit with a possible suspect on foot running north around Virginia," Crump told investigators. "I headed toward Hearne Avenue in hopes to possibly cut him off if, by chance, he came out onto Hearne.

"The next thing I really pick up on is a officer saying: 'I got him on Corbitt!' I go up Hearne Avenue, make a right on Corbitt. I actually see the gentleman running. I see the officer chasing him; so I pull over, exit my vehicle."

Crump then details how he joined other officers in the pursuit of the suspect as he got out of the car.

"As I'm exiting, the person fleeing was running north between two houses," he recalled. "The officer, who I later found out is Lt. Peters, is following foot pursuit.

"I began to run between another set of houses to try to head back to where he was. And in that backyard where I was going to enter into, there were two pit bulls enclosed inside that fence. So I backed away, ran back out to Corbitt over to Hearne and started running north on Hearne to try to get up to the next street."

Crump told investigators that's when he heard a succession of rapid shots ring out.

"I hear what I believe to be three rapid shots. 'Pow! Pow! Pow!' So I'm looking to try to  see if I can see anything. I don't see anybody," he said.

"I knew there were officers on the next street, so I didn't know who was being engaged and what took place. But I knew the suspect I had last seen was going in that direction. ... And then I hear 'Officer down' and the suspect is said to be running west, crossing Hearne."

KSLA Investigates obtained dash cam video from the units of five SPD officers: Matthew Reardon, Erik Powell, Brian Ross, Jason Cook and Matthew Welch.

It was Ross's dashboard camera that ultimately caught what happened next.

The video shows three shots ringing out, followed by Miles tearing across Hearne Avenue and being pursued by Prunty and Crump.

Crump can be seen raising his arm. Then there is a pop, and a black object tumbles from the police chief's hand.

Shreveport city attorney William Bradford told us the chief acted properly and the case is closed.

As for that black object that dropped to the ground, Bradford insisted that was the chief's cellphone, not his weapon.

"Chief Crump makes the attempt to recover that cellular device at which time he loses his footing, stumbles to the ground, recovers himself and continues the chase," added Bradford.

Bradford explained that when you take a closer look at the video, it's clear the chief never let go of his gun.

"Throughout the entire video you'll see that his right hand is occupied with the gun and is in control of the firearm. He recovers the cellphone with his left hand, resumes the chase of the suspect," concluded Bradford.

In the SPD audio recordings, Crump tells investigators he tried yelling to Miles before firing.

"I yelled at him to stop. And as I yell to him to stop, I had my weapon drawn. And he slows and turns back not fully toward me, but he slows and he leans to kind of look back. And as he did that, as he began to make that turn, I fired. I fired a shot."

Later during his interview, the police chief said all of those factors - him hearing shots fired and the call of "Officer down" then seeing Miles turn back to look at him - contributed to him firing his weapon.

"When he slowed and made the motion to turn back toward me, that's what it appeared to me, he was trying to back toward me. Having already heard this gunfire and the transmission that went on, I had no reason not to believe that he wouldn't fire at me too, so I fired," Crump said.

Prunty also fired his weapon.

Miles was not wounded.

"After firing that shot, I don't know who it was, I just, I heard a yell," Crump described to investigators. "After I shot, the gentleman straightened up or turned back forward and continued to head in a westerly direction in that backyard."

Ross's dash cam video shows Crump then falling over as he tries to recover the black object that had fallen from his hand.

"As I was proceeding on across the street to go into the yard behind him, I trip and fall and I lose sight of him," the police chief told investigators.

"I get up. I look up. He's gone and I see another officer over in the backyard of the house next to the one whose backyard he went behind.

"And since I lost eye contact, eyesight of him, I backed out of the yard because I didn't know if he was in a position where he could probably engage me and I have no cover. I didn't want to be caught off-guard.

"So I backed out of that yard. And as I backed out of the yard, I see Lt. Prunty come across the street and ... by this time ... there were several units on both sides, so I knew he was boxed in."

Still, Crump told investigators he tried to signal the officer next-door to the one Miles had run behind.

"I don't remember my exact words, but I was just trying to alert them that he was somewhere back there so that they would be as cautious as they could," the police chief said.

"The only cover I could take was behind a utility pole there because somebody came on the air and was telling everybody to make sure you hold your positions. 'Keep your perimeter, keep your perimeter'."

Miles was caught by the time Crump and Prunty took what cover they could, the police chief recalled.

"I held there by that pole and, I think, Lt. Prunty remained there with me. And then the next thing I really remember hearing is some officers giving, instructing him to 'Get down, get down, get down' and they said they had him and that was ... that was pretty much it," the police chief told investigators.

Miles, who was not wounded, later was booked on charges of simple burglary and resisting an officer.

When Thomas was caught, he was charged with one count each of simple burglary and aggravated assault with a firearm.

A Sgt. Brown, one of the SPD investigators interviewing Crump in the audio recordings, can be heard asking Crump to describe his assessment of the threat during the chase.

"When you hit that corner and make the corner at Corbitt and Hearne and then ... you hear the shots first, correct?"

"Yes," Crump replied.

"Can you describe in your own words, at that point, what was going through your head as far as your perception, your officers' safety, your prior training, prior experiences, anything that may come into account about what you thought was happening at that point?" Brown asked.

"I was very concerned because I wasn't there to actually see what was going on," the police chief replied. "And knowing that one of my officers was in pursuit and a gentleman that we were pursuing was also heading toward some of my officers.

"So hearing these shots and not being able to see what was going on, it put me in great concern. And a whole lot of thoughts were passing through my head.

"I was wondering if one of my officers was shot or who was the one administering this gunfire. And then to hear a female officer say 'Officer down,' that's an indication to me that one of our officers has been shot and this gentleman is still fleeing.

"So I felt if it indeed was that which the officer reported, as an officer being down, this gentleman is still fleeing, he's still dangerous."

At the conclusion of the audio recording, Crump can be heard telling SPD investigators he was just thankful everyone came out alive.

"I'm glad that everybody, at least as it relates to that part, is all right. The officers and the individual is all right."

Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler placed Crump on paid departmental leave Nov. 1 to help ensure transparency in the investigation.

The mayor lifted that leave Tuesday, saying no policy violation occurred.

Crump returned to work Wednesday.

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