Quantcast

911 call for help turns tragic - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

911 call for help turns tragic

Posted: Updated:
SHREVEPORT, La -

On October 15th, 2013, first responders were called to Americana Drive in Shreveport, the home of 58-year-old John Shepherd, for a man in medical distress.  But quickly, the night turned to tragedy – as police ended up shooting Shepherd, resulting in his death.

The Caddo Parish District Attorney's investigation describes Shepherd becoming combative with firefighters who were unable to tend to his medical issues because he chased them out of the home with a knife.  He was later found to have high levels of Oxycodone in his system.  The EMS crew requested Shreveport Police for back-up, which is not uncommon. The D.A. says the responding officer, Phillip Tucker was told en route to the scene, that Shepherd had a knife and that one neighbor reported shots fired.  

The police dash cam video shows Officer Tucker arrive, take his shotgun and walk to the scene. The firemen can be seen in their reflective gear running back and forth, consistent with the D.A.'s report—which said Shepherd would move toward, then retreat from where the firemen and Tucker were.  According to authorities, both the firemen and the officer ordered Shepherd to put the knife down and show his hands.  When he didn't, and advanced on them, Tucker discharged the shotgun one time, hitting Shepherd in the chest from 9 feet away.  Shepherd was treated at the scene, and then taken to University Health where he was declared dead.

The D.A.'s report concluded that tucker responded in a reasonable manner, and criminal charges were not filed against him.  Police officers are forced to make split second decisions. Decisions that, in this case, led to Shepherd's death.  What about Officer Tucker's training influenced the decision he made that night?

"We can't give them every single scenario they may be confronted with, but we do continual, ongoing service training as far as use of force."  Cpl. Rodney Horton is a Use of Force Instructor with the Shreveport Police Department.

While Shreveport officers are given scenario based training, to deal with different types of people and situations, they say a threat is a threat.

"If they get on scene and it is a person, it doesn't matter if it's a person with mental history, if an officer perceives that someone is going to do some physical harm to him, create great bodily injury or harm to them," says Cpl. Horton, "they have to do what they have to do to protect the citizens of Shreveport and themselves."

Shreveport officers do have what are called less-lethal options.  All officers have OC spray, a taser, and a baton, in addition to a handgun.  Some Shreveport officers have bean bag shot guns (another less-lethal weapon), and some have rifles and shotguns.  Cpl. Horton says they're trained on whatever tools they're given. 

In the review, the D.A. wrote "there is no requirement…that a deadly force situation be responded to with a "less lethal" option which may or may not be effective."  We asked Cpl. Horton, in which situations would less-lethal weapons not be effective. 

"With not only deadly force, but with every tool...whether it's a firearm, whether it's mace, it's not going to effective on every single person…The officer has to take the situation, based on his training, based on his perception," he says. "I've got 600 officers—they go to a situation, one of them may choose to use a less-lethal option where the other officer chooses to use deadly force, and they both may be absolutely correct."

We also asked Cpl. Horton about whether officers are trained to strike a person, with a deadly weapon, in a certain spot so as to avoid killing them.  He says officers are trained to shoot the center mass of whatever target they have available to them.  That could be a person's full body, or just an arm or leg.

In the department that receives 700-900 service calls a day, officers are trained on a variety of lethal and less lethal weapons.  They are also given a lot of leeway to make split second decisions; decisions that mean the difference between life and death. 

Click here for the full Caddo Parish D.A.'s review of the case.

A longer version of the SPD dash cam video can be found above.

  • KTBS 3 InvestigatesMore>>

  • KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

    KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:13 GMT
    National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. Pretty gross, right? 
    National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. Pretty gross, right? 
  • Overton Brooks' Patient's appointment cancellation causes concern

    Overton Brooks' Patient's appointment cancellation causes concern

    Friday, July 11 2014 2:28 PM EDT2014-07-11 18:28:29 GMT
    We've been told by many veterans that they receive quality care at the V.A. hospital in Shreveport. But for some getting an appointment to see their caregivers is the challenge. According to our V.A., they do not have a problem getting patients seen quickly - and the numbers they report echo that conclusion. We’ve uncovered concerns, however, over how their numbers look so good - while patients are still waiting to be seen.“Certainly from my viewpoint here, as a veteran, as a physician, the c...
    We've been told by many veterans that they receive quality care at the V.A. hospital in Shreveport. But for some getting an appointment to see their caregivers is the challenge. According to our V.A., they do not have a problem getting patients seen quickly - and the numbers they report echo that conclusion. We’ve uncovered concerns, however, over how their numbers look so good - while patients are still waiting to be seen.“Certainly from my viewpoint here, as a veteran, as a physician, the c...
  • Overton Brooks Patient says V.A. is lying about access to care

    Overton Brooks Patient says V.A. is lying about access to care

    Friday, July 11 2014 2:14 PM EDT2014-07-11 18:14:50 GMT
    So far we've brought you a whistle blower employee, and then, after two weeks of waiting, you heard the official V.A. response. But it's said that there are three sides to every story.“We're not challenged for access at Overton Brooks, we can provide same day access, that's why we're encouraging same day access, that's why we're encouraging veterans to enroll into our system.” Those are the words from Interim Director at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, Toby Mathew, during the news confere...
    So far we've brought you a whistle blower employee, and then, after two weeks of waiting, you heard the official V.A. response. But it's said that there are three sides to every story.“We're not challenged for access at Overton Brooks, we can provide same day access, that's why we're encouraging same day access, that's why we're encouraging veterans to enroll into our system.” Those are the words from Interim Director at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, Toby Mathew, during the news confere...
  • NationalMore>>

  • Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

    Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:25 AM EDT2014-07-28 11:25:32 GMT
    Sarah Palin is starting her own subscription-based online network.
    Sarah Palin has started her own subscription-based online network.
  • It's all over but the arguing in Sterling trial

    It's all over but the arguing in Sterling trial

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:06 AM EDT2014-07-28 10:06:34 GMT
    Only final arguments and a ruling remain in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
    Only final arguments and a ruling remain in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
  • Aid Group: 2 Americans have Ebola in Liberia

    Aid Group: 2 Americans have Ebola in Liberia

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:54 AM EDT2014-07-28 09:54:54 GMT
    Two American aid workers have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia, a relief group official said.
    Two American aid workers have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia, a relief group official said.
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File