The man fatally shot by a New Orleans policeman this week had a criminal history in two states spanning nearly two decades before he allegedly opened fire on police Wednesday night in Central City, court records show.
The man, identified Friday as Omarr Jackson, 37, suffered severe internal bleeding after being shot and died Thursday at a local hospital, the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office said.
Jackson’s convictions in Orleans Parish date back to 1995 and include attempted possession of heroin and possession of cocaine, illegal carrying of a weapon and simple escape, according to the state Department of Corrections. He most recently landed in state custody between August 2002 and July 2005, said Pam Laborde, a department spokeswoman.
Jackson pleaded guilty in 2002 to theft in Jefferson Parish and was sentenced as a multiple offender. Prosecutors in Orleans Parish also had filed a so-called “multiple offender bill” against Jackson the same year.
Jackson also had a criminal record in Georgia, where he apparently lived for several years after Hurricane Katrina.
Authorities said Jackson was shot after he fled from — and fired at — police late Wednesday, an incident they said was captured on an officer’s body camera.
Officers Matthew Bencik and Devin Ashmore approached a parked Chevy Avalanche truck at La Salle and Josephine streets about 11 p.m. after noticing damage to the front of the car and smoke coming from the engine, police said.
Three people who were inside the vehicle fled, police said, including two who got away and remain at large. Jackson ran down Josephine Street, pulled out a gun and opened fire on the officers, causing Bencik to shoot him, Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said Thursday.
The shooting happened in a section of Central City known as a hub for drug activity.
Dr. Jeffrey Rouse, the coroner, said Jackson was shot in the buttocks, adding that the bullet pierced a major blood vessel and portions of his bowel. Rouse classified the death as a homicide.
“In keeping with our newly adopted in-custody death protocols, present at the autopsy performed on Mr. Jackson were representatives from the Federal NOPD Consent Decree Monitoring Team, the office of the Independent Police Monitor and the Public Integrity Bureau of the New Orleans Police Department,” Rouse said in a statement. “Their presence underscores my commitment to transparency in investigating in-custody deaths.”
Rouse’s predecessor, Frank Minyard, often was criticized for his rulings on deaths of people killed by police or in jail.
Bencik’s attorney, Donovan Livaccari, told The New Orleans Advocate this week that he believes the shooting was justified.
“Judging from what I know,” Livaccari said, “it sounds like the stop itself was perfectly lawful, and then the shooting was in response to what they perceived as a deadly threat.”