Police identify man killed during officer-involved shooting in Fordoche

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 7:15 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2021 at 10:38 AM CST
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UPDATE: Officials with Louisiana State Police have identified the person that was killed in an officer-involved shooting in Pointe Coupee Parish on Wednesday night.

Investigators say a Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Deputy and a Livonia Police Department Officer responded to a disturbance call on Cleveland Road in the Town of Fordoche just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 22.

Police say residents called 911 to report a man had driven his truck the front of a house and caused substantial damage.

The suspect was later identified as Jessie Lee Gaither IV, 48, of Opelousas, officials say.

Authorities say Gaither then exited the vehicle brandishing a knife in one hand and a gun in the other.

After attempting to set the house on fire, Gaither left the residence and walked up the street, police say.

When officers arrived at the scene they made contact with Gaither and he brandished a knife, according to investigators.

Police say officers gave Gaither “repetitive verbal commands to stop advancing towards them” but he refused.

One officer unsuccessfully attempted to subdue Gaither by discharging his Taser. Police say Gaither then pulled out a firearm, which was later determined to be a flare gun, and discharged it at the officers.

An officer then discharged his firearm striking Gaither, according to investigators.

Gaither sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased on the scene by the Pointe Coupee Parish Coroner’s Office.

Officials with the Louisiana State Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that happened late Wednesday evening.

POINTE COUPEE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations has taken over the investigation into a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened in Pointe Coupee Parish on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

The incident took place at around 5:45 p.m. on Cleveland Road in Fordoche, about 3 miles off of Highway 190.

A Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s deputy and a Livonia police officer were involved. It is not clear who fired the fatal shot.

“The preliminary investigation revealed that 911 dispatched them to a domestic dispute on Cleveland Road in Fordoche. Upon arriving to he scene they came in to contact with an armed subject. And upon coming into contact with that armed subject, an officer discharged his firearm striking the subject, who sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased on the scene,” said State Police Trooper First Class Taylor Scrantz.

WAFB has learned new information about the 911 call law enforcement was responding to.

“It was a domestic dispute by a concerned citizen. He called the 911 who obviously dispatched the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office. It’s still very early on in our investigation. Louisiana State Police Crime Lab, along with Louisiana State Police Troop A, and our detectives are still processing the scene as we speak,” said Trooper First Class Scrantz during a live interview on 9News at 10.

The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office requested the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations to take over the case, which is typical procedure during an officer-involved shooting.

“We handle them upon request. We were first requested by the Sheriff, Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, and that’s why we got the initial call,” said Trooper First Class Scrantz.

Louisiana State Police confirmed no officers were injured.

“Fortunately they were not injured during this incident. They are both safe and going home this evening. And that’s very important,” said Trooper Scrantz.

There is no information yet on who the person is that was shot and killed.

“We have not notified the next of kin at this time, so we won’t be able to release that at this point in time,” said Trooper Scrantz.

Both 18th Judicial District Attorney Tony Clayton and Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Rene Thibodeaux were at the scene Wednesday evening.

Few other details are available at this time.

“Unfortunately there was a death involved in this incident. Louisiana State Police is going to do a thorough, complete and transparent investigation. And we will conclude those findings and forward them to the District Attorney’s Office,” said Trooper Scrantz.

Officials are investigating an officer involved shooting that left one person dead in Fordoche,...
Officials are investigating an officer involved shooting that left one person dead in Fordoche, La. on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.(WAFB)

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