SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - The family of the man accused of shooting a Slidell Police officer is thanking the department for using restraint when gunfire erupted outside of a bar and family soda shop Friday evening.
Police said Jeremy Lackey shot at three officers and a police K9 after he was asked to leave the Olde Towne Tavern.
Lackey shot Sgt. Cliff Laigast in the leg during the shootout, according to police.
Despite his injury, Sgt. Laigast, joined by officer Scott O'Shaughnessy and officer Justin Stokes, took positions to keep the shooter from getting close to the public.
"These officers went above and beyond, not only handling the situation, but putting their own lives in jeopardy to save an innocent bystander," Police Chief Randy Smith said.
At the nearby Olde Towne Soda Shop, Frank Jackson, co-owner of the restaurant, took cover with customers as police surrounded the shooter.
"It's almost like they took positions and they were not gonna let him advance up the street, he wasn't coming anywhere this way, they were gonna make sure he stayed in that direction," Jackson said.
Stokes waited until the shooter stopped ran out of ammo and then hit a 'bail-out' button on his belt, releasing his K9 scout, who jumped into action.
"They weren't even to the suspect when all of a sudden the dog, it was incredible to watch the dog, because he came into the street and bee-lined, he didn't go for anybody else, there was no other purpose but to get to that guy," Jackson said.
Chief Smith was relieved the four-legged hero wasn't hurt after the shooter unloaded his magazine, several shots hitting the car where the dog was waiting.
"You got to remember this K9 Scout was in the vehicle being shot, we're lucky he wasn't shot because two of the four rounds went into the vehicle in the direction of this dog," Chief Smith said.
Lackey's attorney, Jeffrey Smith, said his client is a former Marine who served two tours in Iraq. He said during one of those tours he suffered a head injury. Smith said Lackey has also been admitted into a psych ward and has reportedly attempted suicide. He said Lackey has been taking medication for his illness and doesn't remember anything that happened Friday evening. He also said Lackey was concerned about the officer who was injured in the shooting.
Chief Smith, though, said his veteran status and health issues don't justify shooting at his officers and the public.