The truck driver who was shot and killed by Denham Springs police on Monday had called state troopers the night before and told them he was being followed, State Police said Tuesday.
An officer shot 47-year-old Robert Kohl, of Fort Worth, Texas, near the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs after the truck driver pulled out a gun during a standoff, police have said.
Kohl called state dispatch about 10 p.m. Sunday evening while driving down Interstate 12 near the East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parish line, Capt. Doug Cain said Tuesday.
He told a dispatcher that he was being followed. Authorities directed him to pull off at the next exit and wait to talk to a trooper. He parked at the Pilot gas station off South Range Avenue just off the highway in Denham Springs.
Kohl said he saw police lights everywhere and thought he was being tailed by law enforcement, though there was no police activity at the time that would have supported his claim, Denham Springs police Detective Glenn Lemoine said.
“He was seeing things that weren’t there,” Lemoine said.
The trooper found no evidence Kohl was being followed, Cain said.
The truck driver was cooperative, the State Police captain continued. Kohl said law enforcement in Orange County, Texas, told him to take a 24-hour break from driving earlier Sunday, though Cain was unsure of the details of that stop or which agency told Kohl to stop driving. Denham Springs police said Monday that he had exceeded his driving hours.
The trooper in Denham Springs told Kohl to follow the instructions he received in Texas to take a break and wrote him a citation for not wearing his seat belt, Cain said. State Police had no further contact with him.
His mother called police on Monday afternoon saying Kohl was upset and threatening to kill himself. When officers went to meet him, he pulled out a handgun and pointed it toward them, police said Monday. An officer with a shotgun fired once and hit him in the torso.
The Livingston Parish Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy of Kohl on Tuesday afternoon and handed their findings over to Denham Springs police.
The initial report confirmed Kohl died from a gunshot wound, Lemoine said. However, the full report won’t be completed for several weeks.
Kohl was driving a Balkan truck. Attempts to reach management Tuesday at the Fort Worth-based company were unsuccessful.
Denham Springs police also said at the scene that they intended to identify the officer who shot Kohl on Tuesday, though Lemoine declined to name him Tuesday afternoon. He said the investigation was still pending. The department has called on the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office to perform the investigation, though city police are performing their own internal review.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Lori Steele said the parish was allowing the Police Department to decide whether to name the officer. She declined to discuss specific details of the case, saying the investigation was still ongoing.
Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.