Video released by the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office Monday of a Feb. 13 shootout between two Baton Rouge police officers and a 22-year-old man killed in the gunfight shows the officers were justified in shooting the gunman, the district attorney said Monday.
The video shows that officers Theodore Smith III and Sean Garic returned fire and shot Calvin Smith in self-defense in the harrowing encounter, District Attorney Hillar Moore III said at a news conference.
Both officers were wounded in the shooting when Smith opened fire on the duo with a semi-automatic rifle.Click here to view the footage.
The video’s release Monday marks the end of a review of the shooting by Baton Rouge Police Department investigators and the District Attorney’s Office, which cleared the officers of any wrongdoing, Moore said.
Moore said the case will not be presented to a grand jury.
One of the officers was grazed on the side of the head by a bullet, and the second officer was shot in the right side by a bullet that penetrated the stitching on the side of his vest.
Smith was rushed into surgery but died from his wounds that night.
The fatal incident began around 6 a.m. Feb. 13, a Saturday, when Baton Rouge police received a call about damage to a vehicle near the 700 block of Monet Drive.
When officers arrived, Smith fled in a 2013 Dodge Avenger, leading the officers on a chase that ended when Smith swerved to a halt in front of the home where he’d been staying at 5629 Fairfields Ave., according to police.
Police said Smith quickly emerged from the car with a semi-automatic rifle and opened fire on the officers, wounding both as they struggled to take cover and return fire.
From the beginning of the probe, authorities have said the footage of the shooting — captured on dashboard cameras in the officers’ patrol cars and on body cameras — provided a clear picture of the shootout and provided compelling evidence that Smith was the aggressor in the encounter.
Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @BrynStole.