New Orleans officials have identified the man who allegedly killed himself Sunday morning in the Westin Canal Place Hotel after a standoff with SWAT officers as Bajkanwar Aulakh, 20, who was set to appear in court in Lafayette on Monday on cyberstalking charges.
Brian Lapeyrolerie, the chief investigator for the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office, said Aulakh, who once lived in Lafayette and Crowley, had a gunshot wound to the chest. The Coroner’s Office is holding off on calling that the cause of death until an autopsy is completed.
Kevin Stockstill, Aulakh’s attorney, said he was shocked to hear of his client’s death and added that he had not shown any signs of distress or uneasiness in the past few weeks.
“When I got the phone call Sunday, it was such a shock because he was very pleasant and a good client,” Stockstill said. “The cyberstalking case wasn’t giving him any grief.”
Stockstill said Aulakh’s father called him and told him about the shooting.
“It didn’t quite register,” Stockstill said of the news.
Stockstill said he and Aulakh were confident about their defense going into Monday’s trial and that his client, whom he knew as “Baj,” was taking it all in stride.
“We believed he was innocent of that charge,” Stockstill said.
Court records listed Aulakh’s address as 9565 Egan Highway in Crowley, which is the address of a La Quinta Inn and Suites.
The charge stemmed from an ex-girlfriend’s claim that Aulakh sent her a threatening text message in April, Stockstill said, adding that, for ethical reasons, he could not discuss what the text message said.
Aulakh had pleaded guilty Wednesday to domestic abuse battery and was sentenced to probation as part of a plea agreement, Stockstill said.
One of the terms of probation was that Aulakh undergo domestic abuse counseling. Stockstill said his client was about to begin counseling in Lafayette, but the bulk of the sessions would be done in Fresno, California, Aulakh’s hometown.
In that incident, Lafayette police responded to University Medical Center shortly before 5:50 a.m. March 8 to a reported domestic battery.
Police found a woman who said her boyfriend, Aulakh, had hit her in the face several times, police reports show.
Officers arrested Aulakh and booked him into Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
Aulakh had been living in Fresno since about May but was coming back to Lafayette for court dates.
According to reports from the New Orleans Police Department released late Sunday, Aulakh and some friends from Lafayette drove to New Orleans to party Saturday night in the French Quarter.
Later, one of three men with Aulakh inside the 17th floor Westin Hotel room awoke about 5 a.m. to find Aulakh looking “dazed and confused” while pointing a pistol at another man.
Aulakh shot the man in the chest, police said, as the two other men inside the room ran out the door.
When officers arrived to find the 24-year-old man shot, Aulakh pointed the pistol at them, forcing the officers to leave the room and set up a perimeter, police said.
SWAT team members stormed the room about 9:30 a.m. after hearing another gunshot, police said. They found Aulakh unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 24-year-old man who was shot in the chest is in stable condition and expected to survive, police said.
Police said Aulakh was on “some unknown substance” at the time of the shooting, but officials are awaiting the toxicology reports to identify the substance.
New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Monday there was no new information about the shooting.
Advocate staff reporters Danny Monteverde and Billy Gunn contributed to this report.
Follow Ryan Broussard on Twitter, @ryanmbroussard.