Update. 6:21 p.m. -- The second of two Baton Rouge Police officers wounded in the shooting was released from the hospital Monday, said Sgt. Don Coppola, BRPD spokesman. Both officers are on paid leave while they recover from their injuries and while police department and the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office complete investigations into the shooting, Coppola said.
The officers involved in Saturday's shooting have been identified as Theodore Smith III and Sean Garic. Smith was hired August of 2011 and Garic was hired February of 2013, both are assigned to the Uniform Patrol Bureau.
The investigation is ongoing, and Baton Rouge police say any additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
A 22-year-old man killed in an exchange of gunfire that wounded two Baton Rouge policemen Saturday morning opened up with a burst of gunfire as the officers were still scrambling to get out of their patrol cars, the East Baton Rouge Parish’s district attorney said.
The two officers — one of whom has since been released from the hospital — chased Calvin Smith for about six minutes before the suspect skidded to a halt and emerged from the vehicle wielding a rifle, said District Attorney Hillar Moore III. Moore said he has reviewed the dashboard camera footage from the patrol cars.
“It’s extremely clear that Mr. Smith exits his vehicle first with what appears to be a semi-automatic weapon and fires the first shots at both of the officers in their vehicles,” Moore said. “He basically got the drop on the officers.”
Smith, who was wounded when the two officers returned fire, died Saturday night, said Sgt. Don Coppola, a police spokesman.
Coppola said that one officer remains hospitalized in stable condition as of Sunday evening.
Authorities have not publicly identified either of the officers involved in the shooting.
Moore said he intends to review additional evidence from the shooting, including footage from a body camera one of the officers may have been wearing, but that the dash cam footage provides a clear picture of the shooting.
“Based on what I saw in the video, (the officers) were justified in responding that way,” Moore said. “It appears the officers were trying to stop, open their doors, protect themselves and fire back after he shot a volley at both of the officers.
“I can’t imagine, looking at that video, how the officers survived and weren’t seriously injured,” Moore said.
One policeman’s head was grazed by a bullet, Moore said Saturday, and his partner was injured when another bullet passed through the stitching on the side of his vest.
The shooting also left at least one of the squad cars with bullet holes in the windshield and a flattened tire.
The fatal encounter began around 6 a.m. Saturday when Baton Rouge police received a call about damage to a vehicle near the 700 block of Monet Drive, Coppola said Saturday.
When officers arrived, Smith fled in a 2013 Dodge Avenger, leading the officers on a chase that ended when Smith swerved to a halt in front of the home where he’d been staying at 5629 Fairfields Ave., according to police, at which point Smith drew the rifle and opened fire.
It remained unclear Sunday how Smith obtained the weapon used in the shooting.
The Baton Rouge Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office are both conducting separate investigations into the shooting, which Moore on Saturday said is standard procedure with shootings involving police officers.
Moore said he hopes to release footage of the shooting and other evidence publicly in the near future but plans to meet with Smith’s relatives first.
“I would like to meet with Mr. Smith’s mother and family members to discuss what I know and let them look at the video prior to the release to the public,” Moore said.
Friends of Smith told The Advocate on Saturday that the suspect had a history of mental illness and had previously attempted suicide and was admitted for treatment while living in Shreveport.
Gina Chambers, who said she is Smith’s godsister, said family members had tried to get him treatment in Baton Rouge after he moved back in December.
Court records also show Smith was on probation at the time of the shooting after pleading guilty to cruelty to a juvenile.
Moore said he’s looking into Smith’s past to see if he’d displayed previous warning signs of troubling behavior and what might have led to Saturday’s fatal confrontation.
“Were there issues that could’ve been addressed?” Moore asked.
Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @brynstole.