An East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy responding to a reported hostage situation outside of Baker early Thursday morning shot and injured an armed man who refused to put down his weapon, authorities said.
What investigators are trying to sort through at this point is whether the woman reported to have been the victim, later found elsewhere, was ever really in danger. Also unknown is whether the armed man knew or ever had any dealings with the woman.
The strange series of events was triggered when another woman called Baker police about 4:45 a.m. Thursday, relaying that an acquaintance told her over the phone that she was being held hostage and beaten by her boyfriend. The 911 caller didn’t know the acquaintance’s address but gave authorities her cellphone number and informed dispatchers that the woman potentially was suicidal and needed assistance, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
Baker police contacted AT&T, which identified a home in the 10000 block of Northdale Drive, located outside Baker city limits, as the billing address for the cellphone number, Hicks said.
The woman was not at the home when a pair of deputies arrived about 4:50 a.m., but a man armed with a handgun walked out of the house after a uniformed deputy knocked on the door.
“The deputy gave verbal commands for the man to drop the weapon, but when commands were not complied with, the deputy fired one shot, striking the man in the right shoulder,” Hicks said.
The man, whom Hicks did not immediately identify, was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
The woman who triggered the response with her call for help later was located at a different address and was taken to the hospital for treatment and evaluation, Hicks said.
Hicks said investigators are still trying to determine whether the woman was being abused or if she’d been held against her will at some point before deputies arrived.
The deputy who fired the shot has been placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting, as is standard departmental practice, Hicks said.
“Baker police and East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputies acted in good faith on the information they were given,” Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said. “Our deputy entered a situation in which he believed a woman was being held against her will. When confronted with an armed man that did not comply with verbal commands, he had a split-second decision to make. We will continue to thoroughly investigate this incident and have a complete after-action review after all the facts are gathered.”
The investigation into the incident is ongoing, Hicks said.