Jefferson Parish deputy shot, killed in Harvey, LA
We regret to inform you that another hero has been lost. Deputy David F. Michel Jr. was tragically gunned down while conducting a pedestrian stop. As police, we never know what the individuals we come into contact with are capable of, no matter how innocent or docile they appear.
What started as a pedestrian stop in Harvey’s Pebble Walk neighborhood ended in the fatal shooting of a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy Wednesday afternoon (June 22), a JPSO spokesman said.
David F. Michel Jr. was repeatedly shot while on duty by the unidentified suspect near the intersection of Manhattan Boulevard and Ascot Road, JPSO spokesman Col. John Fortunato said. Many people in nearby offices saw deputies swarm the area and Pebble Walk in search of the gunman as the Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter circled overheard. Authorities eventually caught the suspect during the manhunt. Fortunato said witness accounts indicate the suspect acted alone.
Michel was driving a department-assigned black Dodge Charger when he stopped the suspect, who was walking near Manhattan and Ascot, authorities said. It is not clear why Michel initiated the stop. Michel’s vehicle was parked in the entrance to the parking lot of a strip mall in the 2400 block of Manhattan Boulevard.
JPSO cited witnesses who described seeing a scuffle erupt between Michel and the male suspect. At some point in their interaction, the suspect withdrew a gun from his waistband and repeatedly shot the deputy around 12:21 p.m. The suspect shot Michel three times in his back, the Jefferson Parish corner said. He then fled into Pebble Walk, Fortunato said.
“The suspect fired several shots, including when the officer was down,” Fortunato said.
Minutes later, Michel, 50, was rushed to University Medical Center in New Orleans by ambulance. New Orleans Police Department spokesman Aaron Looney said NOPD aided JPSO in clearing the route by managing traffic for the deputy, who arrived at 12:45 p.m. Michel died from his injuries less than an hour later.
Victoria Le, whose office is in the Manhattan Boulevard strip mall adjacent to the shooting, said neither she nor her co-workers overheard the gunshots. She said they witnessed the rush of Sheriff’s Office vehicles and sirens as deputies responded to help Michel. Some vehicles even sped through their parking lot, she said.
A swift reaction followed Michel’s fatal shooting as law enforcement and the deputy’s loved ones rushed to the hospital. Among those present was a sobbing woman related to Michel, said Rose Harper.
“It makes me want to cry,” Harper said while leaving the emergency room.
Michel become a reserve deputy at JPSO in 2007 before a promotion to full-time deputy in 2014, JPSO said. Chief Deputy Craig Taffaro said he spoke with the deputy’s father after the shooting, telling Taffaro that “as difficult as this is,” his son was “doing what he loved to do.”