Police responding to a report of a man threatening to shoot someone at a New Orleans East apartment complex Friday morning fatally shot the man during an exchange of gunfire, according to authorities.
The man was shot multiple times and died about 10 a.m. at a sprawling apartment complex in the 6800 block of Parc Brittany Boulevard, Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said.
Although officials did not release the man's name, a law enforcement source identified him as Donald Davis Jr., 40, a resident of the complex.
The man killed in a gun battle with police at a New Orleans East apartment complex on Friday morning was 40-year-old Donald Davis Jr., accordi…
No officers were hurt during the incident.
Ferguson said three responding officers fired their weapons. All three have about three years of experience on the force.
All of them had activated their body-worn cameras, Ferguson said.
“We are trying to investigate and determine who shot first and all of the other circumstances that may have occurred around this incident,” Ferguson told reporters at the scene.
Multiple people at the apartment complex said the man who was fatally shot was upset with the complex's leasing office, possibly over a broken key or door.
They said the man had gone to the office with a gun, threatened to shoot someone there and then briefly left, at which time an employee called 911.
Police arrived as the man was returning to the leasing office for a second time, still armed with a gun, said a resident and a maintenance man who declined to give their names.
An exchange of gunfire ensued, said the resident and the maintenance worker, who each heard the clash and caught glimpses of the agitated man before he was slain.
"They came just in time," the maintenance man said of the police. "That man was gonna (expletive) up everything in there."
Apartment complex resident Reginald Bell spoke with WWL-TV and echoed the story about the man being killed after complaining to the leasing office over "minor things." Bell said he got the impression that the man had needed help for mental problems but had been unable to get it.
"If you're going to make some complaints, don't go with a gun on you," Bell said. "If you're that dissatisfied, move."
Ferguson declined to say who fired first during the shootout but noted that investigators had recovered a gun near the man who was killed.
One law enforcement source familiar with the officers' version of events said they reported they shot back after being fired upon, though a review of the body camera footage of the incident was pending.
The officers who fired their weapons have been placed on desk duty, as is routine in such cases. Their names weren't released Friday.
Ferguson said the probe into the man’s death would be led by the NOPD's Force Investigation Team, a special unit set up under the Police Department’s seven-year-old reform agreement with the federal government.
Detectives and crime scene technicians could be seen gathered around a Ford F-150 with shattered windows in the complex's parking lot, near a one-story office building. Surrounding the truck were at least a dozen evidence cones, which are typically used to mark spent bullet casings.
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In addition to a large police presence, city and federal monitors who investigate New Orleans officers' uses of force were also on the scene.
Under Louisiana law, the initial call that brought police to the apartment complex — aggravated assault — is defined as attempting or threatening battery with a dangerous weapon.
Numerous people at the complex and in the surrounding neighborhood told reporters they were tired of the violence plaguing that section of New Orleans East.
The resident who described hearing Friday's gun battle said a friend of his was shot in the same block of Parc Brittany a week earlier. There was also a shooting in March on nearby East Coronet Court.
One man who was watching Friday's activity, Kenneth Vaiton, said he was worried about his daughter and granddaughter who live in the neighborhood. "This area has been bad for (a while) — all kinds of mess," Vaiton said. "I was scared to come around."
Friday's incident was at least the third deadly shooting by New Orleans police this year.
Zonell Williams, 33, was killed after he reportedly fired a handgun at an officer in Treme on Jan. 4.
Reginald Bursey, a 32-year-old robbery suspect, was shot dead after he fired at cops who tried to detain him in the Central Business District on Feb. 17. Bursey wounded two bystanders, and police firing at him accidentally injured three other civilians, investigators said.
Those killings ended a nearly two-year period in which New Orleans police were not involved in any fatal shootings.
Advocate staff writer Matt Sledge contributed to this report.
Update, 9 p.m., May 17, 2019: The city's Independent Police Monitor issued a statement Friday evening that said it was still too early to draw conclusions about the fatal police shooting earlier in the day. The statement applauded Ferguson for not drawing any conclusions about the officers' actions while updating the public on what had occurred.
The monitor noted the man killed was the fifth person to die during police activity this year — the three shootings, including Friday's, as well as an attempted traffic stop in March that resulted in a car plowing into a Broadmoor beauty salon.
Two teens were killed in the car that crashed into the salon, causing a fire. A salon patron died as a result of the blaze as well, and police opened a disciplinary investigation into several officers involved in the case that hasn't wrapped up yet.
Additionally, the monitor's statement applauded police Friday for erecting body shields around the slain man to block the corpse from view — a step that the monitor called "a hard fought change" from some incidents in the past. The statement didn't elaborate on that point.