A trail of blood and the sound of screams ultimately led police officers to a suspect they were searching for Thursday night in a neighborhood near Belaire High School, Baton Rouge police said, bringing an end to a chase in which a convicted felon shot a patrol car and then was shot in the arm by an officer in pursuit.
Police officers were patrolling in a neighborhood near the school about 8 p.m. when they saw a vehicle run a stop sign, according to a police report.
But the driver, later identified as Torrance Terrel Smart, refused to stop, ignoring flashing lights and sirens of police on Robbie Avenue near Cristy Drive. Instead, according to the report, Smart drove on the wrong side of the road while trying to elude officers, speeding through yards and nearly striking pedestrians and occupied vehicles throughout the chase.
At some point, with his car still in motion, Smart bailed out of the vehicle and opened fire on police, striking a patrol car in its front bumper, the report says. In response, officers returned fire, striking Smart once in the arm.
But Smart’s injury didn’t slow him down initially. He fled on foot, running to a nearby home on Warfield Avenue, the report says.
Police followed a blood trail and the sound of screams to the home, where Smart, 24, eventually exited willingly. As he was complying with police commands, though, Smart made another attempt to flee, the report says, so an officer shocked him with a stun gun.
During their investigation, officers learned the car Smart was driving had recently been reported stolen. They also learned he had a felony conviction on a charge of simple burglary in 2011.
In addition, when police searched the home where Smart ultimately was captured, they found bloody clothes in a trash can.
“A bloody sweatshirt located had holes in it consistent with that of a gunshot,” the report says.
Police also found a firearm next to some blood on a fence in the neighborhood, the report says.
After being treated at a hospital for his wounds, Smart, 4817 Tigerland Ave., Apt. 3, was booked into Parish Prison on counts of attempted first-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, aggravated damage to property, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, obstruction of justice and resisting an officer, according to Parish Prison records.
A man who identified himself only as Michael said Friday he witnessed part of the chase. He said he heard six gunshots and then another six gunshots immediately after the first ones.
“I was scared as hell,” he said.
Michael said he saw police in pursuit of a black car, and the car was clearly ignoring police lights and sirens.
“Car never slowed down,” Michael said.
Officers John Belcher, a six-year veteran of the Police Department, and John Ford, a two-year veteran, were placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigation, as is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman.
Smart’s bail had not been set as of Friday afternoon, according to Parish Prison records.
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