NOPD identifies suspect in officer's shooting death

Coroner's van leaves University Medical Center

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A gunman killed a New Orleans police office overnight in eastern New Orleans.

The officer was patrolling the area of Tower Lane and Lake Forest Blvd. Friday at about 12:30 a.m. when he saw something suspicious, according to NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison.

When the officer got out of his car, the perpetrator, identified as 30-year-old Darren Bridges, fired on him. The officer fired back and both men were hit in the shootout. The officer collapsed at the scene, while the perpetrator ran to a nearby apartment complex.

The officer was rushed to University Medical Center, where he later died.

Harrison said there were possibly four people in the car that the officers stopped.

Negotiation teams were able to get the suspect to surrender peacefully.

Harrison said two officers might have fired on the suspected gunman. He is in a local hospital and will be charged once he is released.

It was a somber scene at UMC when police superintendent Michael Harrison and Mayor Mitch Landrieu arrived.

They consoled the officer's family and other police officers after the wounded officer died.

Landrieu said when something like this happens, it's always hard to take.

"There are a lot of officers who knew this strikes at the heart ...and also the men and women of the New Orleans Police Department," Landrieu said.

The police chief said grief counselors were on the scene. The officer was identified as Marcus McNeil, 29.

"As we grieve, we continue to serve at the same time," Harrison said.

"For a long time, he was in that apartment. The SWAT team and negotiation team worked to make contact with him. There was a peaceful surrender after long negotiations and he was transported by ems here to the hospital," Harrison said.

Witnesses said they heard five to 10 shots during the incident. Investigators are canvassing the scene jotting down license plates to find people in the area who may have information.

At University Medical Center, a van from the Orleans Parish Coroner's office was seen leaving the hospital with a large police escort.

Donovan Livaccari with the Fraternal Order of Police said the officers who stopped to investigate may have been in the area on the lookout for something suspicious.

"I believe that these were proactive officers," Livaccari said. "So they were officers that were actively looking for problems or looking for people that were that were causing trouble and it looks like that's exactly what they stumbled upon."

Livaccari said he frequently hears stories from officers about happening upon suspicious circumstances while out on patrol.

"The strangest things happen and that's what these officers are out looking for and they present a serious danger to law-abiding citizens of New Orleans."

The shooting is being investigated by the NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau's Force Investigation Team as an officer-involved shooting.

All officer-involved shooting protocols were initiated. The federal consent decree monitor and the Independent Police Monitor were notified.

The internal investigation into this incident is underway.