INDIANAPOLIS (WAFB) - Authorities say a man suspected of shoplifting and accused of firing an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy’s gun during a struggle at the Cortana Walmart in Baton Rouge Monday, June 15 has been arrested.
Casey Hicks, a spokesperson for EBRSO, said Wednesday, June 17 that Gabriel Nicole Francis, 31, was arrested in Indianapolis through the work of the Louisiana State Police Fugitive Task Force and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
Francis was wanted on charges of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, resisting an officer, disarming a police officer, theft of goods, felon in possession of a firearm, and battery of a police officer.
Authorities had been searching for Francis since Monday afternoon after emergency crews responded to the Cortana Walmart parking lot after a shot was fired as an EBRSO deputy allegedly struggled with Francis.
The call went out around 2 p.m. Monday.
Hicks says a deputy who was working an extra duty shift at the Walmart was notified by the store’s loss prevention department that someone was trying to steal from the store. The man was reportedly seen on surveillance footage switching tags for various items and then trying to bypass the cash registers without paying.
The deputy and the loss prevention employee confronted the suspect, and a struggle ensued just outside the store, officials say.
During the struggle, a shot went off, EBRSO says. Officials say the man was able to disarm the deputy and fire his weapon.
According to staff and witnesses, Francis was on top of the deputy trying to remove the deputy’s holstered handgun, causing it to fire while in the holster. This happened while staff tried to help the deputy get control of Francis.
Francis fled the store on foot and dropped his wallet, officials say, then got into a 2016 Buick LaCrosse.
Deputies have arrested the driver of the vehicle, Joycie Marie Abraham, for allegedly helping Francis get away from the scene.
Authorities say Abraham drove Francis from Baton Rouge to Lafayette after the incident at the Cortana Walmart Monday.
Abraham was arrested Wednesday, June 17 on charges of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, accessory after the fact to resisting an officer, accessory after the fact to disarming a police officer, and accessory after the fact to felon in possession of a firearm.
Arrest records show she was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison the same day.
Officials say no one was injured in the incident.
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