A cousin of a 40-year-old New Iberia man fatally shot by an Iberia Parish sheriff’s deputy following an early Sunday morning standoff said she asked officers to let her try to diffuse the situation before the shooting but was rebuffed.
“I knew I could have helped him,” Harley Delahoussaye told KATC-TV, referring to Shannon Labit, the man shot by the deputy. “If they had given me the chance to talk to him it would have made everything different.”
Labit, whom relatives said had a long history of mental illness, reportedly approached deputies with a knife after a standoff around 1:30 a.m. at his camper on McDonald Street in New Iberia, Master Trooper Brooks David, a State Police spokesman, said Sunday. Louisiana State Police detectives are investigating the shooting.
Just what prompted Iberia Parish deputies to descend on Labit’s camper remained unclear on Monday.
David said Sunday that deputies had responded to an “alleged domestic call” involving Labit at another residence a couple of blocks away. Relatives of Labit, including Jeremy Randazzo, a nephew who spoke with The Advocate on Sunday, said Labit may have gone to confront two women over his stolen bank card.
Other media reports indicated at least one of the women may have been stabbed but The Advocate has been unable to independently verify those accounts or determine whether anyone was injured in the earlier altercation.
David said he didn’t have details on what happened during the incident and referred questions to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. Attempts to reach Sheriff Louis Ackal were unsuccessful and a Sheriff’s Office dispatcher said no one would be available to address questions about the incident until Tuesday at the earliest.
No deputies or bystanders were hurt during the standoff and fatal shooting at Labit’s home, in the 600 block of McDonald Street.
David said Sunday that at least one deputy fired at least one round during the encounter but said detectives are trying to determine whether other deputies also fired weapons.
David declined on Monday to provide additional details about the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation.
“Nothing else will be released until it’s turned over to the district attorney,” David said.
Randazzo said his uncle was well-known to local law enforcement and most officers were aware of history mental issues, including from previous run-ins with the law.
“They know him,” Randazzo said. He’s a little off his rocker but he’s not going to hurt you.”
Another cousin, Jacie Delahoussaye, said Sunday night that Labit was diagnosed with mental illness.
“He had very traumatic stuff happen in his life and spent a good bit of time in prison,” Jacie Delahoussaye said. “But under all of that, he loved kids, and loved to joke around.”
Although she didn’t witness the shooting, Jacie Delahoussaye — like Randazzo — questioned the account of the shooting provided by law enforcement.
David declined to respond to comments made by family members, saying their questions would be answered by the coroner and by detectives’ final investigative report on the shooting.
In an interview with KATC-TV, Harley Delahoussaye said she was at the scene of the shooting Sunday morning and heard the gunshot that killed Labit. The KATC-TV report does not indicate whether she saw what happened or only heard the shot
Harley Delahoussaye expressed frustration that deputies, pointing to safety concerns, refused offers from relatives to negotiate with Labit. She said she believes he would still be alive had she been allowed to intervene and talk to him.