02/15/2007

La. suspect is fatally shot; Driver tried to run over deputies

By Michelle Hunter
Times-Picayune

Two Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies investigating a tip about a drug deal early Wednesday opened fire on a car after the driver tried to run both over, officials said. The driver was killed and a passenger wounded, they said.

The identity of the man killed just after 3 a.m. in the 300 block of Iris Avenue in Jefferson was not available Wednesday evening. The coroner's office had the name but was trying to locate the man's next-of-kin.

The female passenger in the vehicle, identified by Sheriff's Office spokesman Col. Bob Garner as Cherly Oswald, 20, of Metairie, was shot in the right shoulder and finger and taken to a hospital. Her condition was unknown Wednesday evening.

Neither of the deputies, a man and a woman, were injured Garner said.

The deputies had been in the area on another call when someone passing by told them about a drug deal in the works on Iris Avenue, Garner said. The deputies approached a white or silver Infiniti sedan parked on the side of the road. The female deputy advanced from the front, while the male deputy approached from the rear of the car.

Inside the Infiniti were the driver, Oswald and a 53-year-old man in the back seat, Garner said. The Sheriff's Office declined to name that passenger.

That man got out and was talking with the male deputy when the driver put the car in reverse and tried to hit the deputy, Garner said. That deputy fired several shots into the car. Investigators had not yet determined Wednesday evening whether any his shots struck the driver.

The driver then put the car into forward and attempted to run over the female deputy, Garner said. She also opened fire, hitting the driver. No details were available on the number of shots fired or the number of times the driver was hit.

The car then struck a metal barrier on one side of the road and careened across the street and struck a parked sport utility vehicle, Garner said.

An internal investigation will be conducted, but Garner said the Sheriff's Office believes the officers acted within department guidelines. Neither deputy was removed from active duty.

"There's no doubt that these officers' actions saved their own lives and the lives of other citizens," Garner said.

The last fatal shooting of a suspect occurred Dec. 14 when Walter Douglas, 41, of Jefferson attempted to disarm two deputies during a domestic dispute. Douglas was shot in the chest after he managed to get one of the deputy's Tasers and stunned both officers.

Copyright 2007 The Times-Picayune Publishing Company

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