Now that an Evangeline Parish grand jury has declined to indict a sheriff's deputy who fatally shot a man in July, District Attorney Trent Brignac is for the first time publicly discussing State Police findings into what happened. But an attorney representing the family of the victim says the official version of events is not credible.
Brignac on Friday provided additional details of the fatal shooting of 27-year-old DeJuan Guillory, two days after the grand jury declined to bring charges against the deputy, Holden Lafleur. In an interview, Brignac said the information he was sharing about what happened was based on the State Police report of its investigation.
The State Police report has not been publicly released and the Guillory family’s attorney, Joe Long, said Brignac’s account of what it contains does not clear up some important and still disputed facts surrounding the shooting.
Nearly six months after a sheriff’s deputy fatally shot an Evangeline Parish man at a traffic stop that turned into a physical fight, his fami…
Brignac said the State Police investigation determined that six shots were fired, three of which struck Guillory in the back, after the deputy got into a fight with Guillory during a 4 a.m. traffic stop on Reed Cemetery Road. Guillory and his girlfriend, Dequince Brown, were riding an all-terrain vehicle at the time.
The shooting followed an initial fight between Guillory and Lafleur that left Lafleur bloodied and dazed, as evidenced in a graphic photograph showing the deputy’s injuries.
Guillory was shot while on his belly with his left wrist in a handcuff, and Guillory’s girlfriend, Dequince Brown, bit and choked Lafleur from behind around the time the gun went off, according to information provided by Brignac and State Police. Brignac has charged Brown with attempted murder of a police officer.
But Brignac also confirmed in an interview that Lafleur did not attempt to restrain Brown with a second pair of handcuffs once she loosened her grip on him. Lafleur instead retreated to his car to call for help, while Brown waited outside unrestrained, according to Brignac.
Long said it makes no sense that Lafleur would fire at Guillory while facing a possible mortal threat from Brown, and then allow Brown to sit freely outside.
“His actions after the shooting do not reflect that she was a threat, but more accurately that he made this up to justify an illegal killing,” Long contended. “No police officer who is in a life or death struggle with someone is just going to let them sit there if he has the ability to apprehend them.”
Brignac said Lafleur has not explained his decision not to restrain Brown. He declined to answer when asked the basis for charging Brown with attempted murder, citing the ongoing proceedings against her.
The fact that Brown physically intervened in Lafleur’s apprehension of Guillory is not disputed. However, it’s it’s not clear exactly at what point she intervened and what transpired immediately prior to it.
Brown’s attorney, Pride Doran, told CNN in July that she jumped on Lafleur after a shot had been fired, and that the deputy shoved her to the ground before firing again at Guillory. Doran said Lafleur, inexplicably irate, initiated the fight with Guillory prior to the shooting.
Doran did not return a call Friday evening.
Brignac said Lafleur instructed Guillory to accompany him to his car after seeing he had no identification, and that Guillory struck Lafleur multiple times, unprovoked, as they walked.
Lafleur fell to the ground, Brignac said, while Guillory returned to the four-wheeler and tried to start it. Lafleur regained his footing, drew his gun and ordered Guillory to the ground, Brignac said. Guillory complied and Lafleur cuffed his left wrist, but Gullory again began to struggle with Lafleur, Brignac said.
Lafleur was basically on top of Guillory and had some control over him when Brown jumped on his back, Brignac said. Lafleur then heard the words “kill him,” and felt someone grabbing for his gun, Brignac said.
“That is the moment in time where, in conjunction with the words he hears, the fact he has someone struggling with him on both sides, attempting to disarm him and take his weapon, all those things converge to cause him to fear for his life,” Brignac said.
Brignac declined to say who said “kill him,” and did not conjecture who grabbed for Lafleur’s gun, although he noted that Guillory’s DNA was found on the weapon.
Lafleur told State Police he heard Brown say “we are going to kill him,” and that it was Brown who attempted to grab his gun, according to an affidavit filed for her arrest.
Long questions the theory that Guillory initiated a new struggle while Lafleur attempted to restrain him on the ground. He said State Police noted in a press release after the shooting that the handcuff on Guillory’s left wrist was “significantly damaged and had to be cut off.”
“It was on so tight the forensic examiner could not get it off. That is perhaps the reason why Guillory was writhing on the ground,” Long said. “It cut off all circulation.