Slain Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy identified, suspect in custody

Memorial site for slain JPSO deputy David Michel, Jr
Published: Jun. 22, 2016 at 4:41 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2016 at 8:53 AM CDT
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HARVEY, LA (WVUE) - A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Deputy who was rushed to the hospital after being shot in Harvey has died. He has been identified as 50-year-old Deputy David F. Michel Jr., according to spokesman Col. John Fortunato.

Michel was shot during a pedestrian stop near the intersection of Manhattan Blvd. and Ascot St. on Wednesday around 12:30 p.m. He was part of the Street Crimes Unit.

"Obviously, this is a dangerous job we all have," said Fortunato. "The objective these officers have is to go into these high-crime areas and pick and choose the suspects they are going to stop."

The stops are based on service calls or on someone they might be investigating for a suspected crime. Fortunato said he is not sure why Michel stopped the suspect.

EMS took the wounded officer to the University Medical Center. He was pronounced dead about one hour later. He was shot three times in the back, according to the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office.

Deputies arrested one suspect shortly after the shooting. He was taken into custody after officers with a K-9 discovered him in a nearby neighborhood. He was also taken to the hospital. It is unclear how the suspect was injured. His identity has not been released.

Residents said officers swarmed the Pebble Walk area, with SWAT members going door-to-door to let people know about the investigation.

They found the suspect in the backyard of a home on London Cross Rd., which is just one block away from the scene of the shooting.

Manhattan Blvd. northbound at Lapalco Blvd. will be closed as officers investigate, according to the JPSO. Southbound lanes will remain open.

Sheriff Newell Normand was out of town at the time of the shooting. He has scheduled a news conference for 10 p.m.

Michel was from Marrero. His wife also works for the sheriff's office. He started with the JPSO in 2007 and went to full time in 2013. He was assigned to the street crimes unit last year.

"I knew him personally because he worked in the fourth district at one time. He was a great guy. He was well liked," JPSO Chief Deputy Craig Taffaro said. "It was quite obvious at the hospital how many friends he had. He's just one of those guys that was always cheerful. I spoke with his father on the way here and his dad told me as difficult as this is he's doing what he loves to do."

As word spread that Michel had been killed, members of the NOPD, Louisiana State Police and JPSO deputies were at UMC to show support for their fellow officer.

A witness inside the hospital said the scene was extremely sad.

"When I saw the lady crying, I wanted to cry myself because I know how it is to lose a family member," Rose Helper said.

JPSO Deputy Stephen Arnold, 35, is a 12-year veteran, was shot five times in January while serving a warrant as part of a DEA task force.

This is the first officer killed by gunfire in the metro area this year. New Orleans Police Department Officer Natasha Hunter, a 12-year-veteran, was killed in a crash while investigating another wreck on June 7.

While investigators have one suspect in custody, they believe people saw the moments leading up to the shooting and even took pictures and recorded video of the chaos. If you have any information that can help the investigation, call the JPSO or contact them through social media.

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