State Police ask for patience as they investigate shooting death of Houma Teen

HOUMA, LA (WVUE) - Omar Austin remembers the last time he talked to his cousin, Cameron Tillman.

"I met him at the corner of Kirkglen," said Austin. "I was going to visit my friends. I told him, 'stay out of trouble.'"

Like many in Houma's Village East neighborhood, Austin has questions. Tillman's family says what they've heard doesn't line up with the details given by the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office.

In an interview with FOX 8 partner HTV, Sheriff Jerry Larpenter says two deputies were called out to check into reports of armed burglars at an abandoned home. According to Larpenter, Tillman came to the door armed with a bb gun - one, the sheriff says, that looked like a .45-calber weapon.

"The first thing the deputies see is that hand with a gun, and then a body," said Larpenter. "The only scenario that could have happened was mentioned by his older brother. He was there. He said [Cameron's] a jokester and thought his friend was outside knocking on the door."

But friends and family of Tillman say that doesn't sound like him.

"They said he was armed," said Beverly Shephard, Tillman's grandmother. "That child was scared of guns. Cameron never even had a toy gun, he wouldn't have done that."

State Police are investigating the case, and the FBI says they'll be on hand to get involved or assist if needed.

"The officer involved and the 14-year-old, they deserve a proper investigation," said Trooper Evan Harrell. "We want to be as thorough as we can and that's gonna take a little time. We ask everyone not listen to rumors and hearsay and wait until the truth actually comes out."

For Chad Smith, a family friend of the Tillman's - it's easier said than done.

"They said be patient, but at the same time a 14 year old beautiful soul is gone. They want answers," said Smith.

And until Omar Austin gets those answers about the night his cousin was shot and killed, it weighs on his mind.

"I haven't been able to sleep," said Austin. "Everything I just think about him, smiling and walking down the street."

State Police says four other teens were in the house with Tillman that night. One of the boys ran out the back door, three others were arrested and then released. Charges for the three are still pending until State Police wrap up the investigation.

The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office says right now, the deputy accused of shooting Tillman is on paid leave.

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