2 Jefferson Parish deputies booked with manslaughter in shooting of man in vehicle
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Two Jefferson Parish deputies who shot and killed a man who refused their commands to get out of a running vehicle last week in Marrero have been arrested on manslaughter warrants and fired from the department, Sheriff Joe Lopinto said Monday night (Feb. 21).
Lopinto announced the arrests and firings of 29-year-old Isaac Hughes and 35-year-old Johnathan Louis, each of whom had been on patrol duty for the JPSO for two years or less.
The deputies had been placed on administrative suspension since they shot and killed 32-year-old Daniel Vallee on Feb. 16 outside what Lopinto described as a known “crack house” in the 500 block of Wilson Street in Marrero.
Lopinto said Hughes and Louis were among five deputies who responded to a neighbor’s noise complaint at the location and tried for more than 12 minutes to convince Vallee to step out of a vehicle parked outside. Vallee refused their commands, Lopinto said, and when he turned on the engine while facing the deputies, weapons were drawn.
Lopinto said footage captured on deputies’ body-worn cameras and interviews with the JPSO personnel at the scene confirmed that when Vallee hit the horn on the vehicle, one deputy opened fire and the second joined in firing multiple shots. Vallee died at the scene, authorities said.
“Mr. Vallee had every opportunity to cooperate and to comply,” Lopinto said. “There was force that was clearly justified at this moment, but it wasn’t deadly force. ... This was extremely unfortunate for everyone.”
Lopinto said JPSO investigators considered a range of possibilities, from making no arrests for a justifiable homicide to booking the deputies with negligent homicide, manslaughter or even second-degree murder. Ultimately, he said, detectives found no criminal intent to support a murder allegation but did find probable cause to seek warrants for manslaughter.
Manslaughter in Louisiana is punishable by up to 40 years in state prison upon conviction. However, it will be up to District Attorney Paul Connick’s office to decide what charge the former deputies ultimately will face, if any.
“There is a defense here,” Lopinto said, based upon his belief that the deputies had genuine fear for their lives during the encounter.
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