An Opelousas man who early Wednesday morning beat on the doors of Opelousas homeowners saying he couldn’t breathe later died as he fought police who tried to arrest him, State Police said.
Dennis Lazard, 36, “dropped dead” as he wrestled two Opelousas police officers outside a vacant house on Herman Street near Railroad Avenue, Master Trooper Brooks David said.
David said State Police detectives are looking into the officer-involved death at the request of the Opelousas Police Department.
No shots were fired, David said, and the Opelousas officers did not use pepper spray or a stun gun on the man.
The two officers involved in Lazard’s arrest, who have not been identified, are on paid administrative leave pending a review of the incident, said Officer Corey Leger, spokesman for the department.
Leger on Wednesday declined to answer other questions.
Residents around the Herman Street area began calling Opelousas police after 3 a.m., reporting that a man was beating on doors. Lazard at one point entered a vacant house, David said, and the officers confronted him outside of that dwelling.
“A struggle ensued,” David said, and Lazard then “just drops to the ground. No heartbeat. No nothing.”
David said the officers, neither of whom were injured in the incident, performed CPR until an ambulance arrived.
KATC-TV quoted neighborhood residents as saying that Lazard ran into homes and banged on walls, claiming he was having trouble breathing.
David said Lazard’s body would be examined to determine why he died.