Latest: Police identify officers involved in fatal shooting of suspect; DA says video shows actions justified _lowres

Calvin Smith

A 22-year-old suspect killed in a shootout with Baton Rouge police Saturday morning caused a disturbance outside his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and damaged her car before leading officers on a chase, an initial police report says.

The two policemen wounded in the shooting — identified by police for the first time Monday as Theodore Smith III and Sean Garic — have both been released from the hospital and were recovering at home Monday, said Sgt. Don Coppola, a police spokesman.

Calvin Smith, the suspected shooter, fled from the officers after they tried to pull him over near the intersection of Florida Boulevard and Lobdell Street — about two blocks from the ex-girlfriend’s apartment on Monet Drive — about 5:45 a.m. Saturday, according to the police report.

After leading police on a roughly 6-minute pursuit, Calvin Smith skidded to a stop in the front yard of the home he’d been staying at 5629 Fairfields Ave., hopped out of the car with an AR-15 assault-style rifle and opened fire on the officers’ patrol cars as they pulled up behind him, the report says.

Officers Smith and Garic managed to return fire despite their injuries and eventually managed to hit the shooter, who collapsed in the home’s front yard, the report says.

Other responding police officers rushed the two wounded patrolmen to the hospital in police cars, the report says.

An EMS ambulance took Calvin Smith to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, where he was rushed into emergency surgery but died Saturday night of his wounds.

Dr. William “Beau” Clark, the East Baton Rouge Parish coroner, said Smith was struck multiple times in the neck, torso and extremities.

Authorities have not yet released footage of the shooting captured by dashboard cameras in both officers’ patrol cars, but East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, who’s reviewed the footage as part of his office’s investigation into the shooting, said Sunday it appears clear both officers “responded appropriately” after the suspect opened up with a volley of fire.

Moore said he hopes to meet with the suspect’s family before publicly releasing the footage.

Coppola said Garic, who was hired by the department in February 2013, and Theodore Smith, who’d served with the force since August 2011, are on paid leave as they recover from their wounds and while Baton Rouge police and the District Attorney’s Office complete separate investigations into the shooting.

A bullet grazed the side of one policeman’s head; the other officer was shot in the right side when a bullet penetrated the stitching on the side of his vest, Moore said Saturday.

The initial police report indicates that Calvin Smith, who was on probation at the time of the shooting, had been arrested on a number of prior occasions, including on several felony counts.

However, East Baton Rouge Parish court records indicate only two convictions: possession of marijuana — a misdemeanor for which he’d been placed on six months’ probation — and cruelty to a juvenile.

Smith was arrested in Baton Rouge in July 2013 on sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile after he was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl whose mother had reported her missing, according to court records, and eventually pleaded guilty to cruelty to a juvenile.

He was sentenced in August 2014 to two years’ supervised probation.

It remains unclear how Smith obtained the rifle he used in the shooting.

The suspect’s criminal background in East Baton Rouge Parish wouldn’t necessarily have barred him from possessing a firearm under state law, though federal law prohibits felons from possessing firearms.

It wasn’t clear Monday if Smith — who according to friends also lived for a time in Shreveport — had additional criminal convictions elsewhere.

Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @BrynStole.