A State Police trooper and a St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy exchanged gunfire with a man Thursday night in the St. Roch neighborhood of New Orleans, leaving the man injured in the hospital but no law enforcement officers wounded, authorities said.
A State Police spokeswoman said Anthony Horton, 42, a New Orleans man already wanted in connection with a May shooting in New Orleans East, was wounded after fleeing from members of an anti-drug task force.
Police released few other details about the shooting, however, including whether Horton was a target of the anti-drug investigation, the names of the trooper and deputy involved, or the number of shots fired.
Trooper Melissa Matey said the incident began when a marked State Police vehicle stopped a vehicle occupied by Horton and a driver shortly before 9:30 p.m. near Franklin and North Claiborne avenues. Horton fled from the vehicle on foot, according to Matey, leading High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force agents on a chase to the 1400 block of Music Street.
Shortly after a state trooper and a St. Bernard deputy inside an unmarked police pickup rounded the corner from North Villere onto Music Street, police said, an exchange of gunfire began.
The trooper, the deputy and Horton all fired rounds, according to State Police. The gunfire left the police truck’s windshield riddled with bullet holes, although it was unclear whether they came from inside the vehicle or outside.
Matey said the number of shots fired is “still under investigation.”
A semi-automatic weapon was recovered on the scene, according to police.
Some witnesses said the shooting left them astounded at the sudden burst of violence on an otherwise quiet street near a community garden often populated by small children.
“I seen the state trooper chasing the guy down with an assault rifle, and I heard about 11 or 12 shots,” said Wayne Andrew, 36. “It’s just really crazy. I don’t know if the suspects had a weapon or not.”
Danny Griffin said he was walking out of his nearby house when he heard several law enforcement vehicles converge on an abandoned house near Music and North Villere. Shortly after that, he heard a barrage of shots.
Griffin said he then saw a law enforcement officer with an assault rifle in his hands vomit on his stoop.
“He was pacing back and forth and started making a bunch of phone calls,” Griffin said.
Paramedics whisked Horton away to University Medical Center at 9:36 p.m. for surgery on what Matey called “lower body” injuries.
Matey said the number of times Horton was hit was “under investigation.” Whether Horton was a target of the anti-drug task force was also, she said, “part of the investigation.”
State Police expect to book Horton in connection with the shooting when he is released from the hospital.
He will also be booked on a warrant for aggravated battery in connection with a May 16 shooting in the 4400 block of Skyview Drive in New Orleans East. New Orleans police said in a news release at the time that Horton fired several rounds at another man after a physical altercation, hitting him in the forearm.
The driver of Horton’s vehicle Thursday night, who has not been identified, could be heard loudly complaining that he had done nothing wrong as he was led away from the scene in handcuffs. Matey said he was released later without any charges.
State Police said they called in detectives from a different troop for an internal investigation of the shooting, which Matey said would provide an “unbiased” look at the trooper and deputy’s actions.
Matey said State Police would not release the trooper’s or deputy’s name “at this time.” The trooper remains on active duty.