State Police rely on witnesses, radio logs in deputy-involved shooting probe

No Body Cams as State Police Investigate Fatal St Bernard Deputy Shooting

CHALMETTE, LA (WVUE) - There are new details in the State Police investigation of the fatal shooting of a New Orleans man by a St. Bernard deputy.

Officers are relying on witnesses and radio logs.

"This is the bullet hole right here," said Chalmette resident Mike Totorico, pointing at a hole in the side of his trailer home off St Bernard Highway.

Investigators said a deputy was attempting to arrest 21-year-old Tyrone Bass when Bass struck him in the head with a rail spike. The deputy called for backup.

"I heard the first one, then heard two more," said Dave Walker, who ran outside. "I saw [someone] kicking him in the head trying to get him off the officer."

Shortly after a second officer arrived, Bass was shot and killed.

While Andres Street residents try and process exactly what happened, the investigation is moving forward without the benefit of police body cameras, which aren't used by the St Bernard Sheriff's Office.

"I'm a believer in body cams and systems," Westwego Police Chief Dwayne Munch said. "It makes it easier for law enforcement to do investigations."

Westwego police spent about $250,000 to outfit all 36 of its units with police body cams and dash cams.

Supervisors monitor them in real time.

"Even in a pursuit you can see what the officers doing," Munch said.

Munch said the cameras help with everything from investigations to simple report writing.

"When you look at body cam video, it just collaborates the police report," Munch said.

About half the officers within State Police Troop B's jurisdiction are equipped with cameras.

"Any time you have video evidence, it's always beneficial," said State Police trooper Evan Harrell.

In the Chalmette shooting, police are looking for surveillance footage.

"We're still in the early stages of the investigation," Harrell said.

The St. Bernard deputy, who was hospitalized after the attack, has been released. The victim's family now awaits the investigation's results.

Some witnesses say they heard as many as four shots, but State Police won't confirm. They do say that Tyrone Bass had prior arrests, including one recently for theft.

Copyright 2015. WVUE all rights reserved