Nearly six months after a sheriff’s deputy fatally shot an Evangeline Parish man at a traffic stop that turned into a physical fight, his family says they have yet to receive answers to the most basic questions about what happened.
They had been scheduled to meet with the Evangeline Parish District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday to discuss results of a State Police investigation into the July 6 fatal shooting of 27-year-old DeJuan Guillory. But District Attorney Trent Brignac abruptly called off the meeting, Guillory’s family said, without providing a reason.
While they’ve awaited answers from authorities, family members have sought to find answers on their own. They say they are convinced he was shot in the back more than once based on photos showing wounds to his body.
Brignac's office received the investigative report on the shooting from State Police on Nov. 3, according to a state police spokesman, and Brignac last week had originally scheduled Wednesday’s meeting to discuss it with Guillory's family.
The frustrated family demonstrated outside the Evangeline Parish courthouse in cold and drizzly conditions with about three dozen supporters to protest the lack of information on the shooting.
"We need answers," said Guillory's mother, Monica Fontenot. "We are already suffering, but now we are being tortured."
The meeting has been rescheduled for Monday afternoon, according to the Guillory family. It's unclear if Brignac will then announce his intentions regarding possible charges against the Evangeline Parish sheriff's deputy, Holden Lafleur. Brignac did not return a call Tuesday; an assistant said Wednesday the office has no comment on any pending charges.
Little is known about what happened on Reed Cemetery Road near Mamou the morning of the shooting. Deputy Holden Lafleur stopped Guillory, who was driving an all-terrain vehicle with his girlfriend, Dequince Brown, shortly after 4 a.m. Lafleur asked the couple for identification, which they did not possess.
A physical fight broke out between Lafleur and Guillory, and Lafleur shot Guillory to death a short time later while Guillory was on the ground, according to a State Police affidavit. The affidavit, which summarizes interviews with Lafleur and Brown, is part of the criminal case against Brown, who is charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
Lafleur and Brown agree that Brown physically confronted Lafleur from behind while Lafleur attempted to handcuff Guillory, according to the affidavit, which was written by Senior Trooper Paul DuBois.
Joe Long, a defense attorney who previously represented Brown told The Advocate shortly after the shooting that Brown had bitten Lafleur to try to prevent Lafleur from killing Guillory. The attempted murder charge against Brown is "a smokescreen to cover up a bad shooting," Long said at the time. Long now represents the Guillory family, but no longer represents Brown.
A coroner's autopsy, in-car camera footage and other key evidence is in the possession of the District Attorney's Office and has not been made available to Guillory's family, Long said Wednesday. Family members were not allowed to see Guillory's body at the shooting scene. Unanswered questions include the instigator of the fight between Guillory and Lafleur, what prompted Brown to confront Lafleur and what exactly happened prior to Lafleur pulling the trigger.
An autopsy report would reveal what part of Guillory's body suffered gunshot wounds. But Guillory's sister, Kiera Guillory, believes pictures she took of her brother's body at Owen-Thomas funeral home in Eunice hold the answer to that question.
With her brother's body propped on his right shoulder, Kiera Guillory photographed what she believes are more than one entrance wounds in the back and one exit wound in his front. She provided the pictures to Long, who shared them with The Advocate. The photos show at least two small, bloody holes in Guillory's back, near the center to the left of the spine and near the left shoulder. Additional photos show a stitched-up wound near Guillory's left nipple.
"What can you say to a heartbroken family," she said when asked if the staff objected to her taking pictures. "I just knew I was going to take pictures of my brother's body. He's laying there not dressed. Yeah, I want to see what y'all did. They didn't allow us to see (his body) on the scene."
Long said the wounds in the pictures are consistent with a gunshot victim who was struck in the back, since entrance wounds are smaller than exit wounds.
"The wound just below the pectoral is consistent with an exit wound, and that's why it had to be sewn shut because it blew out a much bigger hole than an entrance wound," Long said.
Advocate staff writer Jim Mustian contributed to this article.