DENHAM SPRINGS — A Denham Springs police officer on Monday shot and killed a Fort Worth, Texas, truck driver who was brandishing a gun, officials said.
The man was identified as Robert Kohl, 47, city Detective Glenn Lemoine confirmed.
Police were called to the area near the Bass Pro Shops shortly after 3 p.m. after a woman reported she was concerned for her son, who was threatening suicide, Lemoine said.
Police found Kohl wandering in a grassy area. Officers ordered him to show his hands, though he initially refused.
Eventually, Kohl pulled out a handgun and disobeyed orders to drop the weapon, Lemoine said. Kohl pointed the gun toward police and was shot once in the torso by an officer with a shotgun. The standoff lasted about 10 to 15 minutes, Lemoine said. About six officers were on scene when the shooting occurred, he said.
Kohl had been taken to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center but later died, Lemoine said.
Police on Tuesday will identify the officer who shot Kohl. In the meantime, the officer, a veteran with about five years of experience on the force, has been placed on administrative leave, Lemoine said.
When asked if the shooting was an instance of “suicide by cop,” the detective said it was possible but stressed the investigation is still ongoing. The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office has been called in to perform the investigation.
Lemoine said Kohl, a truck driver, had been stopped by authorities in Texas and ordered to pull over, as he had exceeded his driving hours. Investigators believe he left he area where he had been ordered to stay and continued driving into Louisiana, where he was pulled over by State Police around Denham Springs about 11:45 p.m. Sunday and again ordered to stop driving.
About 11:30 a.m. Monday, he contacted Livingston Parish dispatch and asked if he could leave. Officers told him he needed to follow whatever instructions the state gave him. Sometime between that call and the standoff, Kohl contacted his mother, who Lemoine said is believed to live in the Lafayette area.
“He was pretty upset,” the detective said.
Matt Cook was in the area to shop at Bass Pro and watched the standoff. He said he saw Kohl pull a gun, pointing it slightly up and sweeping it from right to left. Then he heard the shot and saw Kohl “fall like a sack of potatoes.”
He didn’t hear any words but confirmed he heard only a single shot.
“They did the right thing,” Cook said of police.
“They did everything right.”
Zach Clark, who works at the nearby Piccadilly, was on his break sitting outside and talking to his girlfriend on the phone when he heard a “boom.”
Hearing only one shot, he thought maybe Kohl had turned his gun on himself. He saw about six to eight police officers as well as the man.
Monday’s shooting is the second involving Livingston Parish law enforcement this month. On Feb. 3, an off-duty deputy was involved in a shootout with his girlfriend’s estranged husband, though authorities have determined the estranged husband died after shooting himself.
Follow Steve R. Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.