Livingston — Before the Feb. 3 gunfight, before the flight through the house and escape out the window, before Sidney Averett died from what has been described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound, off-duty Livingston Parish Deputy David Johnson placed a call to a 911 dispatcher.
“Hey, this is David Johnson. ... My girlfriend’s ex is over here at the house beating on the door. ... They just had court today and he ain’t satisfied so he’s over here beating on the door.”
This week, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office released dispatch recordings surrounding the shootout at 30817 Country Club Lane earlier this month between Johnson and Sidney Averett, who Johnson names as the man at the door. Johnson’s girlfriend, Stephanie Averett, and Sidney Averett were going through a divorce.
The Coroner’s Office has determined that Sidney Averett received two non-life-threatening gunshot wounds during the firefight. However, he died after shooting himself in the head, according to the State Police, the agency investigating the incident.
Trooper 1st Class Jared Sandifer said Thursday that the state’s report was nearing completion and that the case is being investigated as an attempted murder-suicide.
On the recording, Johnson’s tone begins calm, if a bit perturbed. He pauses after introducing himself so the dispatcher can say hello. A woman’s voice is heard in the background. But about a minute after placing the first call, the situation explodes.
“He’s got a gun!” the deputy suddenly exclaims on the recording.
“Shots fired!” he yells a moment later.
Dispatch ratchets up the response, calling for all units in the area to respond to Country Club Lane, then telling deputies to break off from other calls to provide backup.
“I need some help!” is repeated several times in the next few minutes as shots are reported a second time.
Someone asks Johnson where he is.
“I’m in the back bedroom; he’s still firing in the hallway!”
An ambulance crew arrives on the scene, saying it is preparing to transport “one white male.”
Authorities start looking to see if any detectives on the scene have a shield. Meanwhile, they ask Johnson if there’s a window in the room where he’s holed up. When he says there is, they tell him he’s going to have to climb out. Nearly two minutes pass, largely in silence.
Then a voice breaks through.
“I’ve got two people out of the house here. I’ve got David and the female out of the house.”
Radio traffic tapers off after that point. Officials try to find the number for the landline at the home or a cellphone that may have been left inside. By the end of the 31-minute recording, dispatchers begin directing officers to other calls and establishing a wide perimeter for media who have arrived on scene.
Following the shooting, The Advocate requested various Sheriff’s Office records that named Johnson or either of the Averetts.
Deputies responded to a number of complaints between Sidney and Stephanie Averett between November and January. Court records have detailed that the estranged couple either sought or received protective orders against each other during that time period.
On Nov. 19, Sidney Averett and an unnamed victim at Stephanie Averett’s address both reported incidents nine minutes apart, according to reports filed by deputies. Sidney Averett said he was going through a divorce and allowed his wife to take specific things from his house at 19591 John Stafford Road for their children.
“(Sidney Averett stated) yesterday when he arrived home from work he noticed that more items were taken than what he and Stephanie originally agreed to and his home was trashed. Deputy (Brandon) Brown did observe this,” according to one report.
Sidney Averett said he had a home surveillance system, but 12 hours of footage had been deleted. He believed it was done to hide that Johnson had been in the home and said he had forbidden him from entering.
“Sidney also mentioned that he and David actually spoke on the phone (and) all David said was ‘You can’t do (expletive deleted) to me; she can invite whoever she wants to her house.’ ”
Brown affirmed both Averetts still owned the home and that both were allowed to have guests over.
Meanwhile, an unnamed victim on Country Club Lane, at the same address as the shooting, reported a “harassing phone call,” but the incident report did not provide specifics, including naming the victim or alleged perpetrator. Instead, the report referred to a supplemental report, which was not provided in the records request.
A week later, deputies were called to the John Stafford Road house for a reported domestic abuse battery, though the unnamed complainant declined to press charges. Again, details were recorded in a supplemental report.
At 5:18 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Sidney Averett called the Sheriff’s Office demanding to speak with Sheriff Jason Ard about Johnson. Lt. Ricky Hunt met with him a few minutes later in the parking lot of a business.
According to the report, Sidney Averett said he and his wife were divorcing “due to Stephanie and Deputy David Johnson having an affair.”
“(Sidney Averett said he) feels threatened by Deputy Johnson and is in fear for his life,” the report states.
Hunt asked him to repeat what Johnson said and “didn’t see any threats of physical harm in any of the statements,” the lieutenant wrote in his report.
Sidney Averett said he was afraid “nothing would ever happen to (Johnson)” if he did something wrong because he was a deputy. Hunt assured him that would not be the case. He gave Sidney Averett his contact information and several blank statement forms and told him to write down what happened and get back to him.
When the report was filed late the next afternoon, it noted that he never returned the forms or contacted Hunt.
The next incident is inconsistently reported as happening either on Jan. 1 or 2. An unnamed victim at the Country Club Lane house complained of receiving unwanted texts from her estranged husband. Again the specifics are relegated to a supplemental report.
On Jan. 6, Sidney Averett complained his “ex-wife Stephanie” had been calling. He declined to press charges.
Livingston Parish jail records show that Stephanie Averett was booked on Jan. 7 on allegations of aggravated assault and simple battery domestic violence, but the details in that case are unclear.
The Advocate also requested Johnson’s personnel file from the Sheriff’s Office, where he has been on active patrol since 2006. His records contained his work application, training and promotion documents and did not include any complaints or disciplinary material.
Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.