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Louisiana State Police investigating police shooting that left Black man dead

Louisiana State Police investigating police shooting that left Black man dead
Posted at 10:55 AM, Aug 24, 2020

Warning: Video attached is disturbing

LAFAYETTE, La. -- Louisiana State Police are investigating after a Black man was shot and killed by officers in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Friday.

State police say shortly after 8 p.m. on Friday, the Lafayette Police Department responded to a disturbance involving a person armed with a knife at a convenience store. Officers encountered 31-year-old Trayford Pellerin of Lafayette in the parking lot of the convenience store on NE Evangeline Thruway.

As officers tried to apprehend Pellerin, troopers say he fled the scene and a foot pursuit ensued. Officers deployed Tasers as they pursued Pellerin, but they were ineffective.

Pellerin, who was still armed with a knife, attempted to enter an occupied convenience store along the NW Evangeline Thruway. Officers discharged their weapons and Pellerin was struck by gunfire.

Pellerin was transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead. No officers were injured.

The officers have been placed on administrative leave, according to the spokesperson for the Lafayette Police Department.

The investigation is active and ongoing. Investigators with the state police will be reviewing body cam video from Lafayette police.

Video being widely shared on Facebook shows a man with what witnesses said was a knife in his hand walking away from police toward a convenience store. The video goes on to show police opening fire; at least 10 shots can be heard and a man is then seen lying on the ground surrounded by police.

LSP, along with Lafayette Police, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory, LCG Chief of Minority Affairs Carlos Harvin, and others, held a press briefing Friday night that can be seen below.

Residents held rally in response to the shooting and in support of Pellerin's family Saturday. Evangeline Thruway was shut down in both directions as protesters have moved into the roadway.


On Saturday evening, Mayor President Josh Guillory released a statement on the fatal shooting.

An armed individual was shot and killed by Lafayette police officers after an extended pursuit, numerous efforts to de-escalate the situation, and multiple tries to subdue the knife-wielding suspect through the use of tasers.
The officers opened fire when it became apparent the armed individual was attempting to enter a convenience store, threatening the lives of the customers and workers inside.
The Louisiana State Police is conducting an independent investigation into the incident. Investigators will receive the full cooperation of the Lafayette Police Department and Lafayette Consolidated Government.
While the incident has drawn significant media attention and protests, our personnel won’t be distracted – they remain focused on ensuring the health and safety of our people.
Also, as twin tropical storms close in on our community, our frontline professionals in law enforcement, healthcare and emergency response remain focused on keeping our city and parish safe.
Our thoughts and prayers are with our community tonight, and with the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana released a statement on the shooting Saturday morning:

"Once again, video footage has captured a horrific and deadly incident of police violence against a Black person who was brutally killed in front of our eyes," said Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. "While we need to know much more about what occurred last night, we know that it began with a routine 'disturbance' call and cell phone video from the scene clearly shows Mr. Pellerin moving away - not towards - police officers, only to be tased and then brutally shot dead. Trayford Pellerin should be alive today. Instead, a family is mourning and a community is grieving. Mr. Pellerin's family and the people of Lafayette deserve answers and an independent investigation of what was clearly an inappropriate and excessive use of force by these officers. None of our communities are safe when the police can murder people with impunity or when routine encounters escalate into deadly shooting sprees. The ACLU of Louisiana will continue to demand justice for this brutal killing and push for reforms that will end the epidemic of police violence once and for all."

This story was originally published by staff at KATC.