Family of man killed by JPSO deputies questions why he was shot

Family questions officer-involved shooting

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The family of a man killed by JPSO deputies is questioning why he was shot.

Family and friends of Eric Harris prayed Wednesday night near Simon Bolivar Avenue and Phillip Street, asking for justice. That's the spot where he was killed Monday.

"That was horrifying what they did. You don't take nobody's life like this, nobody," said Harris' aunt, Tynekia Buckley.

Harris was shot to death by two deputies from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office after they chased him and his girlfriend from Oakwood Mall in Gretna.

"We had an altercation with his old girlfriend," said Harris' current girlfriend, Teyshara Blouin.

"Three female patrons at the shopping center approached one of our deputies and indicated to our deputy, pointing to an individual, and indicating the guy had just brandished a weapon and pointed a gun at us," Sheriff Newell Normand said.

Normand said Harris took off, and two nearby deputies, Henry DeJean and Kenneth Bonura, chased him. Somewhere near the Crescent City Connection, he allegedly rammed one of their units, then made his way to Central City, where he crashed his car into a light pole. The deputies took action when they say they felt their lives were in danger.

"The vehicle's rear lights went on, putting it in reverse, and at that point in time, the officers opened fire," Normand said.

When asked if Harris put the car in reverse, Blouin said, "He never touched it. He asked me, was I alright. As soon as he said that, they started shooting."

Nine shell casings were recovered from the scene. According to the coroner, Harris was hit four times. At least 15 bullet holes could be seen on the driver's side of Harris' car. His girlfriend wasn't injured.

"He got a son right here, he got a momma, he got sisters, he got brothers, he got a whole family that need him. We need him to be here with us today and now he's not here," said Harris' cousin, Micquila Harris.

Although his girlfriend denies he had a weapon inside the mall, police say they recovered a gun from Harris' car. According to the sheriff's office, Harris had previous arrests for weapons violations, resisting arrest and narcotics violations.

Harris was also on probation at the time he was killed for possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, simple escape and possession of heroin.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.