A French Settlement man, shot last April by a Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy who responded to a 911 call that the man was armed and suicidal, sued the sheriff and three of his deputies Wednesday in Baton Rouge federal court.
Matthew Scott Peyronnin and his parents, Matt and Tabitha Peyronnin, are seeking damages from Sheriff Jason Ard and deputies Jeffery Scoggins, Kendall Prestidge and Brandon Brown.
The Peyronnins accuse the deputies of using “unreasonable and excessive force” after they were dispatched to the family’s mobile home on Queen Florence Farms Road in the early morning hours of April 29.
State Police troopers called in to investigate the shooting have said they were told Matthew Peyronnin, who was 19 at the time of the incident, raised his gun toward the deputies when they approached the house.
The lawsuit, which has been assigned to Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson, disputes that account.
Peyronnin, according to the suit, heard a commotion outside his window and saw a figure dressed in all black. He said he asked the person to identify himself, but the person took evasive moves to go undetected. Peyronnin grabbed a shotgun for personal protection and alerted his mother that someone was trying to enter the house, he said.
“Peyronnin began to open the entry door while leaving the storm door shut. Before he could fully open the entry door, Peyronnin was shot through the closed storm door,” the Peyronnins’ attorneys, Paolo Messina and Franz Borghardt, say in the suit. “Peyronnin was shot four times. ... Once in the hip, twice in the leg and once in the neck.”
The three deputies fired at least 10 shots, the suit states.
“At no time did Peyronnin point a weapon at the Deputies, threaten the Deputies, speak to the Deputies and/or engage the Deputies in any manner,” the suit adds. “The Deputies never identified themselves as Police nor gave any warnings to Peyronnin before shooting (him). The Deputies shot Peyronnin without cause and for no reason.”
The suit questions the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office’s “custom, training, and policies.”
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Lori Steele said the department does not comment on pending litigation.
Peyronnin still faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of aggravated assault upon a police officer with a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty.