New Orleans, LA – The New Orleans Police Department on Tuesday released surveillance and bodycam video of a man shot by officers after he raised a gun and rushed at a police car (video below).
The incident occurred at about 7:26 a.m. on Jan. 25 when New Orleans police officers responded to a call about an intoxicated man who was waving a gun around and pointing it at people in the area of Bourbon and St. Louis Streets, The Times-Picayune reported.
Surveillance video showed an obviously-inebriated 25-year-old Austin Bentel jumping up and down screaming at someone outside the camera’s view.
Then as the enraged man stormed down the sidewalk, a New Orleans Police Department SUV with its lights on arrived at the intersection and then stopped in the middle of the street near Bentel.
Surveillance video showed Bentel pulled a pistol out of his waistband and pointed it at the officer driving the police vehicle before she had an opportunity to get out of the SUV.
The video further showed that Bentel racked the slide on his gun as he approached the police vehicle.
The driver, New Orleans Police Officer Ryeisha Warren, opened fire on Bentel as he neared her vehicle’s window, according to The Times-Picayune.
Several other officers were arriving on foot in the area and saw the incident unfolding. They also opened fire on the armed suspect.
“As shown in the video, officers had little time to react other than to defend themselves against the aggressive actions of this perpetrator,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson told reporters at a press conference.
Superintendent Ferguson said the officers fired a combined total of 15 shots and Bentel was struck in the face, torso, and extremities, The Times-Picayune reported.
Bodycam video from one of the officers showed that when officers’ approached the suspect after he had been shot, Bentel still had his hand on his gun with his finger on the trigger as he laid on the ground.
Police recovered Bentel’s 9 mm semiautomatic pistol at the scene but said there was no magazine in it, the Times-Picayune reported.
However, they did find a live 9 mm round on the ground near Bentel’s body.
Sources said investigators believe that Bentel accidentally ejected that cartridge when he racked the slide prior to the shooting.
Bentel was transported to the hospital for treatment of his gunshot wounds and then booked into jail upon his release from the hospital on Jan. 27, WVUE reported.
He was charged with four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and one count of aggravated assault upon a peace officer.
Bentel’s mother, Elizabeth Runnels, said her son had been suffering from mental health problems since his father’s death in May of 2019 and that his behavior at the time of the incident was exacerbated by heavy alcohol consumption, according to WVUE.
All four of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave while the officer-involved shooting is investigated as is protocol for the department, The Times-Picayune reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: