The sister-in-law of the man accused of fatally shooting a Louisiana state trooper in southwest Louisiana described him as “a good person until he started drinking.”
Diane Daigle said Tuesday that her brother-in-law Kevin Daigle needed help for problems but received very little. She described him as in and out of jail for the past decade, in chronic pain from past ankle and hip injuries, and “troubled.”
Kevin Daigle is accused of shooting Senior Trooper Steven Vincent on Sunday. Authorities say Vincent stopped to help Daigle, whose truck was stuck in a ditch. Vincent died Monday.
Kevin Daigle has a lengthy criminal record, including four felony convictions. His sister-in-law says even though Kevin Daigle threatened her and her family, “It’s hard for us to believe that he did this.”
The man accused of fatally shooting a Louisiana state trooper had his first hearing, held in the jail where he’s been detained.
The Calcasieu (KAL-kuh-shoo) Parish Sheriff’s Office said a judge met Tuesday with Kevin Daigle at the local correctional center where he is being held, part of a routine hearing to determine whether an inmate has a lawyer.
The sheriff’s office says Daigle requested an attorney, and he was assigned a public defender. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Myers says the Baton Rouge Capital Conflict Office will handle Daigle’s defense.
Daigle is accused of shooting Senior Trooper Steven Vincent on Sunday. Authorities say Vincent stopped to help Daigle, whose truck was stuck in a ditch. Vincent died Monday.
Officials in Louisiana have announced funeral plans for the state trooper they say was fatally shot while trying to help an apparently stranded driver.
Louisiana State Police said Tuesday that Senior Trooper Steven Vincent’s funeral will be at noon Saturday at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Lake Charles.
Vincent was fatally shot Sunday he tried to help the driver. That man, Kevin Daigle, has been charged with murder, and authorities also suspect that he was involved in the death of his roommate in nearby Moss Bluff.
State police say visitation for Vincent will be held Friday afternoon at Johnson’s Funeral Home in Lake Charles, He will be buried at the Lacassine (LAK-uh-seen) Cemetery in Lacassine.
Authorities have identified the man they say lived with the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Louisiana state trooper and owned the truck he drove when the officer tried to help him.
Calcasieu (KAL-kuh-shoo) Parish officials said Tuesday that the man is 54-year-old Blake L. Brewer. The man was found dead in his Moss Bluff home after the trooper’s shooting.
Officials say suspect Kevin Daigle lived with Brewer, and authorities suspect Daigle was involved in his roommate’s death.
The sheriff’s office said that when he was interviewed by the state police, “Daigle led investigators to believe an altercation occurred between him and Brewer which led to Brewer’s death.”
Daigle, also 54, is accused of shooting Senior Trooper Steven Vincent, on Sunday evening. Officials say Vincent found the truck in a ditch and stopped to offer assistance to Daigle. Vincent died Monday.
The Calcasieu Parish man accused in the shooting death of State Police Trooper Steven Vincent is suspected in a second slaying after investigators on Monday found the shooter’s presumed roommate dead inside a Moss Bluff home.
Meanwhile, authorities are hailing as a hero the good Samaritan who helped capture Kevin Daigle, the 54-year-old Lake Charles-area man accused in the trooper’s slaying.
Robert LeDoux said he was out for a drive Sunday when he saw flashing police lights about a quarter-mile away and then was stopped by three men calling 911. They urged him to turn around after they had seen a man brandishing a gun by the trooper.
“One of the guys said, ‘Don’t go down there. That guy’s got a gun,’ ” LeDoux said in an interview with The Associated Press.
But he charged up anyway to try to help the trooper.
When LeDoux arrived, Daigle was standing over Vincent, looking through his pockets and trying to yank the officer’s gun from a holster.
“He told me, ‘Everything’s all right. Mind your own business. You need to go,’ ” LeDoux recalled. “All I could see was pure evil in his eyes.”
Instead of leaving, LeDoux said, “I took off running. I tackled him. We hit the ground. I was on top of him, and I called 911.”
The other men, seeing LeDoux tackle the gunman, came to help. They handcuffed the shooter and two of them held him down while LeDoux went to help Vincent, using the trooper’s radio to call for assistance, State Police spokesman Sgt. James Anderson said Monday.
“He’s really a hero to us,” Anderson said.
Daigle is accused of shooting Vincent with a sawed-off shotgun around 2:45 p.m. Sunday. The 12-year State Police veteran died about 8 a.m. Monday at a Lake Charles hospital. Prosecutors soon charged Daigle on counts of first-degree murder of a police officer and aggravated battery on a police officer.
As investigators interviewed Daigle in the trooper’s death, the suspect made statements that “led investigators to believe that there was an altercation at his house” at 1491 Hollyvale Drive, Moss Bluff, said Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso.
Around the same time, the roommate’s employer contacted the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office to report the man hadn’t shown up to work Monday — an unusual thing for the company’s 15-year employee, Mancuso said in a news conference Monday.
Sheriff’s deputies forced their way into the home Monday morning and found the man’s body.
Investigators are treating the man’s death as a homicide, Mancuso said. “It’s obviously presumed that Mr. Daigle is involved in this, and yes, we’re going to presume that and we’re going to investigate that.”
Authorities on Monday had not released the man’s identity or manner of death while they worked to get in touch with his family members.
Authorities already visited the home on Sunday night because the Dodge pickup driven by Daigle was registered to that address. No one answered the door.
“We had no warrant. We had no reason to believe foul play was involved. So we left the residence,” Mancuso said.
After finding the roommate’s body, Calcasieu Parish deputies checked on Daigle’s son and ex-wife and found them unharmed, Mancuso said.
Daigle has not been charged in the Moss Bluff man’s death, “but we are very, very early in this investigation,” Mancuso said.
Vincent’s encounter with Daigle on Sunday afternoon began with a report of an erratic driver, State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said during a news conference Sunday.
The trooper found a Dodge pickup matching the report’s description stuck sideways in a ditch along Fruge Road, which is off La. 14 just outside Bell City.
Police video shows Vincent professionally trying to talk a man out of the vehicle, and when Vincent asked Daigle which tow truck company he’d like to use to haul away his truck, Daigle fired “at least two or three pellets” into Vincent’s head, Edmonson said.
He said the tape shows the shotgun blast.
“I saw my trooper go backwards and back toward his unit, where he was going to try to get some help out there,” Edmonson said.
After the shooting, he said, Daigle wandered into the road and over to Vincent, asking if he was alive.
“You could hear him breathing, telling him, ‘You’re lucky. You’re lucky — you’re going to die soon.’ That’s the words that came out of his mouth,” Edmonson said.
Police suspect Daigle was under the influence of alcohol and “at least one other type of drug,” Edmonson said Monday.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has issued an executive order calling for state buildings to fly flags at half-staff until Friday.
“Brave men and women like Steven put their lives in danger every day to protect our families, and we are extremely grateful to them for keeping us safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steven’s family and all of our law enforcement members as we mourn this tragic loss,” Jindal wrote in a prepared statement.
Edmonson on Monday described Vincent — a husband and father to a 9-year-old son — as a dedicated law enforcement officer and affable man who also served for a decade with the Lake Charles Police Department and who ran a marathon the day before he was shot. He also “continued to keep giving in death” with the Monday donation of his organs, Edmonson said.
“Here’s a guy that just loved life. He loved everything about it. And that’s what we celebrate today,” Edmonson said.
But he added Vincent’s death is a sober reminder that police risk their lives each day they step into uniform and go to work.
“This is why police approach people and they give directive action. That’s why they tell them to step out of the car … because these things happen,” Edmonson said.
Edmondson asked that people “wrap your arms around” police officers in the state, country and world and tell them that you appreciate the work they are doing to keep our communities safe — including Vincent’s brothers, Trooper Terrell Vincent and Iowa Police Chief Keith Vincent.
“Our hearts are certainly broken in this moment,” Edmonson said. “But I can promise you, to the citizens of Louisiana: We will continue to do our job.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.