Kevin Knight, the man accused of starting a shootout with six officers Saturday night, is a 28-year-old convicted sex offender who had been sentenced to 10 years in jail but was instead given probation in 2012.
Police on Monday released his name as well as the names of the officers involved. Three of them had graduated from the academy less than a month ago, on Nov. 17, and were in the first phase of a field training program, said Cpl. Don Coppola, a Baton Rouge police spokesman.
The incident began about 10 p.m. Saturday, when Knight’s girlfriend called police to her home in the 5200 block of Jackson Avenue to investigate threatening text messages he sent her, Coppola said.
While police were interviewing the woman, Knight drove by and she pointed him out to officers, Coppola said. The officers tried to get Knight to stop, but police say he sped on. After a brief chase, Knight crashed through a front yard and into a Washington Avenue home, smashing bricks in the front wall and creating cracks along the home’s living room.
Knight managed to run after he crashed his car and opened fire at officers while sprinting across the home’s front yard, police have said.
Knight kept firing even after the officers shot back and struck him, and Knight even scooted across an adjacent lawn while bleeding and hanging onto his gun, a neighbor said Sunday.
“They gave him chance after chance after chance after chance,” the neighbor added. “He wanted to die like he had death on him, and I just don’t understand. It’s crazy. Like, wow.”
Though neighbors have said more than a dozen shots were fired in total, Knight was taken to a hospital with only moderate injuries, and no one else was hurt. He will be booked into jail after his release from the hospital, although it is not yet clear what charges will be brought against him, Coppola said.
The six officers involved in the shooting were put on administrative leave as part of the department’s normal procedures. There were six involved because three were new to the job and were riding along with more-experienced officers. Police have declined to say how many of them fired their weapons because the shooting is still being investigated.
The three seasoned officers were eight-year veteran Paul Brown, three-year veteran James Crisler and two-year veteran Howie Lake, who were accompanied by recent academy graduates Sirtelli Dorsey, Todd Thomas and Curtis Wilson.
The newest officers were part of the four-month training program for new officers, in which they ride in the passenger seat and also rotate from district to district, Coppola said.
The shootout was not Knight’s first run-in with law enforcement. In 2012, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail for having sex on two occasions with a 13-year-old girl who lived near him, court records show. Instead of being sent to prison, he was given five years’ supervised probation and was paying the required fines as well as attending classes and community service as part of the probation.
Knight also pleaded guilty to marijuana and weapons charges that same year and was sentenced to six months’ probation, which he completed.
The owner of the home that Knight crashed his car into said Monday that an official had come to inspect the damage but was waiting for more information from police, such as whether Knight had insurance. In the aftermath of the incident, bricks and plastic were scattered across her front lawn, and her chain-link fence was lying mangled near the front door.
“I was scared to death,” she said Sunday.