GLYNN -- It remained a mystery Wednesday what sparked the argument leading to the fatal shootings of West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Deputy Donna LeBlanc and her 20-year-old daughter at the hands of their neighbor Gregory Phillips, who turned the gun on himself after killing both women.

But authorities and people who knew Donna LeBlanc said she died Tuesday trying to protect her home from a man with whom the family shared a strained relationship. Phillips lived across the street from the family, in a shabby trailer shrouded by overgrown grass and trees.

"We don't know what the argument was about. We don't have any eyewitnesses," Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres said Wednesday. "There will be parts of this that are lost because the people that were there are dead."

Phillips, 29, was something of a cipher to neighbors who said they personally knew little about him. But many who lived nearby considered him a nuisance because he was always firing his gun and setting off explosive devices in his backyard at night.

Officials with the Louisiana State Police confirmed Wednesday their office had prior contact with Phillips but wouldn't disclose the nature of their contact withhim. Donna LeBlanc was the wife of a Louisiana state trooper.

"We will not release any information until the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office's investigation is complete," Major Doug Cain, a spokesman for the State Police, said Wednesday.

Torres said his office is still waiting on findings from forensic evidence collected at the scene and a toxicology report to determine if Phillips may have been intoxicated at the time.

Torres said Phillips had no significant criminal history but suffered from some mental issues. "The extent of that, I don't know," he added.

Phillips' parents hung up the phone after refusing to comment when The Advocate tried to contact them on Wednesday.

Torres on Wednesday offered his initial summary of how events appear to have played out when Phillips shot and killed Donna LeBlanc and her adult-age daughter, Carli LeBlanc, around 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

He said evidence gathered at the scene indicates Phillips drove to the LeBlanc residence that afternoon, knocked on the door, which was answered by Carli LeBlanc, who was there with her 9-year-old sister.

Carli LeBlanc stepped out onto the front porch with Phillips to have a conversation, leaving her sister inside the home, Torres said. The sheriff said he didn't think Phillips was armed at the time.

Things escalated after Donna LeBlanc arrived and got involved in an argument with Phillips, who had retreated back to his truck, which was parked in front of the family's house, located in the 14400 block of La. 416 in Glynn.

"There was an exchange of gunfire between them," Torres said. "Donna fired three shots at him, I don't know how many he fired before killing her."

Donna LeBlanc was armed with her duty-issued weapon, Torres said.

Phillips then turned his gun, a .223 assault rifle, on Carli LeBlanc, who was still standing on the porch. After fatally shooting her, the sheriff said, Phillips then tried to get inside the home where the 9-year-old child had been locked inside the home by her sister.

After beating on the door several times and failing to gain entry, Torres said, investigators believe that Phillips fatally shot himself.

It was a 911 call from Donna LeBlanc' 9-year-old daughter that alerted authorities to the tragedy.

James Didier, who lives next door with his wife Susan, heard the gunfire while he was sitting outside in his backyard. But said he believed the gunshots were coming from hunters shooting in a nearby canal.

His wife assumed it was Phillips just firing off ammunition in his backyard again -- only this time he was doing it in the day time instead of at night.

"When I heard the little 9-year-old girl scream I knew something was wrong," Susan Didier said. "I wish I had gone over there, but we didn't know where the shooter was."

The fatal shootings of the deputy and her daughter shook the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, where she was a 22 year veteran and much loved by colleagues who mourned her passing.

The day after the shootings, the American flag was blowing in the wind at half-staff outside the parish courthouse in honor of Donna LeBlanc. Inside, a black ribbon was hanging on the door to Sheriff Mike Cazes' office.

Donna LeBlanc was the first deputy killed doing his tenure as sheriff, he said.

"Donna would do anything for you as a cop. She had a true love for the thin blue line," Cazes said. "She got along great with the community. And she was very involved in both her daughters' lives and just would do anything to help someone."

Emotional shockwaves were being felt at Brusly High as well where Donna LeBllanc’s daughter, Carli, graduated high school and was a stellar athlete.

Two of her coaches describe her as their star pitcher for the school's female softball team who led the school to Class 3A state title in 2013 before she was involved in a near-death car accident that severely injured her in July 2014.

"She wanted to be a vet but then she had that accident and had to have several eye surgeries," said Julie Mayeux, Brusly High's assistant principal and assistant softball coach. "Everything was a challenge for her after that because she also had a brain injury, but she was working through all of that."

Top stories in Baton Rouge in your inbox

Twice daily we'll send you the day's biggest headlines. Sign up today.

Beau Bouvier, Brusly's head softball coach, said Carli LeBlanc's former teammates and the school's faculty and staff are still grappling with the reality of her death, finding it hard to believe until they saw news reports.

"She was a great competitor and an even better person off the field," Bouvier said. "As you got to know her, everyone would agree with that."

West Baton Rouge deputy Donna LeBlanc exchanged gunfire with a neighbor who had been arguing with LeBlanc and her daughter before the neighbor fatally shot both of them and killed himself, Pointe Coupee Sheriff Bud Torres said.

Torres released new details Wednesday of the confrontation that led to the murder-suicide in Glynn on Tuesday.

Torres said evidence gathered at the scene on Tuesday indicates that Gregory Phillips, 29, drove to the LeBlanc residence that afternoon, knocked on the door and was greeted by the deputy's daughter, Carli LeBlanc, 20, and her 9-year-old sister.

It appears Carli LeBlanc stepped out on to to the front porch with Phillips to have a conversation, leaving her sister inside the home, Torres said. The sheriff said he didn't think Phillips was armed at the time.

Things escalated after Donna LeBlanc arrived and got involved in an argument with Phillips, who had retreated back to his truck, which was parked in front of the house, Torres said.

"There was an exchange of gunfire between them," Torres said Wednesday morning. "Donna fired three shots at him, I don't know how many he fired before killing her."

Donna LeBlanc was armed with her duty-issued weapon, Torres said.

Phillips then turned his gun, a .223 assault rifle, on Carli LeBlanc, who was still standing on the porch, Torres said. After fatally shooting her, the sheriff said, Phillips then tried to get inside the home where the 9-year-old child had been locked inside the home by her sister.

After beating on the door several times, Torres said, they believe Phillips, who lived across the street from LeBlanc and her family, then fatally shot himself.

"We don't know what the argument was about. We don't have any eye-witnesses," Torres said. "There will be parts of this that are lost."

Not seeing the video below? Click here.

 

Torres said Phillips had no significant criminal history but he was aware the man suffered from some mental issues. "The extent of that, I don't know," he added.

Torres said his investigators are still waiting on results from forensic analysis and a toxicology report to determine if Phillips may have been under the influence at the time of the incident.

The crime shocked the quiet community and the law enforcement officers who gathered Tuesday afternoon to brief the press at a news conference.

"Look, we're in the country, in a very quiet area. To think of something like this happening is just unbelievable," Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson told reporters Tuesday evening. "It's a horrible situation."

Donna LeBlanc is the wife of a Louisiana State Trooper. Torres said the couple's 9-year-old child placed the 911 call around 4 p.m. to report the shootings. Carli LeBlanc is the daughter of Donna LeBlanc by a prior marriage.

Deputies first on the scene found the three bodies in the yard of the family's home. Torres said Donna LeBlanc had a gun in her possession when she was killed.

Within 45 minutes of the 911 call, the 14400 block of La. 416 was swarming with law enforcement from the state and sheriff's offices in West Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee parishes. All were visibly shaken.

Edmonson said the state trooper was at a training exercise when he got the call about the incident. 

West Baton Rouge Sheriff Mike Cazes could not hold back his tears as he talked to reporters Tuesday.

"She was one of my first deputies to hit the streets after I became sheriff," he said. "I just saw her day before yesterday. Today was her day off. She's gone now."

Pointe Coupee investigators and officials from the State Police Crime Lab remained on the scene well into the night, gathering evidence and piecing together the chain of events leading up to the tragedy.

As the investigation moves forward, Edmonson said his department is prepared to step in and help in the grieving process for the trooper.

"We'll just counsel him through this," Edmonson said. "You just don't expect things like this to occur."