Louisiana state trooper dies of gunshot suffered while helping driver, police say
LOUISIANA — The man charged with killing Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent after Vincent stopped to help him will face first-degree murder and other charges, a police statement said Monday.
Vincent has died of his injuries the day after being shot, Col. Michael Edmonson, the police force’s superintendent, said in a statement Monday. He was surrounded by family and friends when he died, a police statement said.
“As an organization, we are heartbroken over this senseless and tragic death,” Edmonson said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his surviving wife, Katherine, and his son (9-year-old) Ethan as well as his entire extended family,” including two brothers who are also in law enforcement: Terrell Vincent, who’s also a trooper, and Keith Vincent, who’s chief of police in Iowa, Louisiana.
According to police, the suspect allegedly told Vincent, “You’re going to die soon,” before opening fire Sunday. Edmonson said the gunshot “messed up (Vincent’s) neurological output,” leaving the trooper in critical condition Sunday.
The 44-year-old veteran trooper had stopped to help Kevin Daigle, 54, whose pickup was stuck in a ditch, according to Edmonson.
Vincent realized the suspect’s vehicle matched the description of a truck whose driver had reportedly been driving recklessly. He started talking to Daigle, who appeared to be impaired and was alone in the truck, Edmonson said.
Daigle opened the truck’s door and came out with the shotgun, authorities said.
“You could hear him breathing, telling him, ‘You’re lucky. You’re lucky. You’re going to die soon.’ That’s the words that came out of his mouth,” said Edmonson, who said he listened to a recording of the interaction.
The suspect tried to flee the scene, but other motorists wrestled a shotgun from him and detained him with the trooper’s handcuffs, Edmonson said. He is being held at the Calcasieu Parish Jail.
Vincent is the first trooper to be killed in a hostile encounter since Trooper Donald Cleveland was murdered near Lafayette in 1977, police said.
He had a lifelong dream of becoming a trooper and joined the Louisiana State Police in 2003. Previously, he was with the Lake Charles Police Department for a decade.
“During his 12 years of service he received 13 awards and commendations, including the department’s Professional Excellence and Meritorious Service Awards as well as numerous Unit Citations for his dedicated and selfless duty throughout the state. He had also served in the United States Army during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm,” a state police statement from Sgt. Nick Manale said.
Vincent will receive the full honors associated with a death in the line of duty, Manale said.
“Trooper Vincent epitomizes all that is great about our organization. He didn’t just believe in our core values, he lived them. The citizens of this state were well served by Vincent, and I know they join us in our collective grief,” Edmonson said.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered flags at state buildings to be flown at half-staff until Friday.
“Steven was an honorable husband, father and State Trooper who courageously served our state for over a decade,” the governor said in a statement. “Brave men and women like Steven put their lives in danger every day to protect our families, and we are extremely grateful to them for keeping us safe.”