The manhunt is on in Jefferson Parish for the person who pointed a gun with a laser sight at three deputies, and then opened fire. The deputies jumped out of their squad car, narrowly missing being hit Tuesday night in Marrero.
The windshield on the unmarked JPSO unit is riddled with bullet holes after someone opened fire on three Street Crimes members inside. The attack happened near the intersection of James and Jordan drives in Marrero.
"One round actually strikes the window and goes directly into the seat," said Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Col. John Fortunato.
The three deputies were able to jump out of the unit as the shooting began because seconds earlier, they saw a red laser aimed at the windshield.
"They could see someone was standing under the tree pointing a handgun at them," Fortunato said.
The neighborhood is known for drug activity, Fortunato said, and the members of the Street Crimes unit were on a proactive patrol.
More and more law enforcement officers around the country have been targeted by gunmen in recent months. In Tennessee, Memphis police officers are on alert because of threats that someone will shoot an officer at the city's criminal justice center. In Illinois, the search for people who shot and killed a police officer expands. But Fortunato wouldn't say if he thought the deputies shot at Tuesday night, were targeted because of their jobs.
LSU criminologist Peter Scharf said people who open fire on men and women in uniform exhibit sociopathic tendencies.
"Lack of empathy, lack of prediction of consequences, lack of concern about others judgments," Scharf said.
Which is why the department is urging its men and women use the utmost caution.
"We try to make sure our officers are trained, have the best equipment, have things like that - but just to be cognizant of the things going on around us today. You know, to look out for one another," he said.
None of the three deputies was injured in the shooting. They were in street clothes but clearly marked wearing vests that said "Sheriff's Office" across them.
Investigators haven't yet identified a suspect.