Video footage "clearly" shows that New Orleans police officers were fired on first before they shot back and killed a man at a New Orleans East apartment complex last week, the officers' boss said Monday.

In a statement, Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said he reached that conclusion after reviewing video captured by the body-worn cameras of officers involved in Friday morning’s shootout at a complex in the 6800 block of Parc Brittany Boulevard.

An internal investigation into the clash remains ongoing despite Ferguson’s statement, and the officers who fired their weapons are still on desk duty. But Ferguson’s statement signals his confidence that the officers’ actions will be deemed justified when the case is closed.

The Police Department said it plans to release video of the shootout next week, conforming with an agency policy for prominent use-of-force cases.

Officials still have not identified the slain man. But multiple sources have said he was 40-year-old Donald Davis Jr., a resident of the apartment complex.

According to the sources, Davis went to the site’s leasing office with a gun and made threats concerning a complaint he had. An employee of the complex called 911 after the man left, but he headed back to the office — still wielding the gun — just as police arrived.

The man and officers exchanged gunfire. None of the officers was injured, but the man was mortally wounded.

Ferguson has said three officers with about three years’ experience each were checking out a report of an aggravated assault when they were drawn into a gunbattle. Under Louisiana law, threatening to shoot someone qualifies as an aggravated assault.

The probe into Davis’ death is being led by the NOPD’s Force Investigation Team, a special unit created under the department’s 7-year-old reform agreement with the federal government.

Municipal and federal monitors who evaluate New Orleans officers’ uses of force are also participating in the investigation.


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Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.