Gunfire erupted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, before the sun came up on the morning of February 13 after police there were involved in chasing a man through a residential neighborhood. Two officers and the suspect they were chasing were wounded in a barrage of bullets, according to Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. in an Associated Press report shared by NBC News.
Dabadie said that the injuries sustained by the two officers are not life-threatening. The wounded police officers are being treated at a local hospital. The suspect the cops were chasing, Calvin Smith, 22, is at the same hospital and underwent surgery for his injuries on Saturday.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore told the media yesterday that one of the wounded officers sustained a bullet wound that grazed his head. The second injured officer was shot in the stomach but survived thanks to his bulletproof vest.
NBC quoted Moore as saying “These guys are fortunate to be alive. God didn’t want to take them today. It was not their day.”
A friend of the suspect’s family, Gina Chambers, said that Smith had been residing at her Baton Rouge home since December. Smith’s mother is Chambers’ godmother. Chambers also said that her housemate was struggling with mental issues, spent some time in a Shreveport hospital in 2015 where he received mental health treatment and that he has a history of suicide attempts. Chambers said Smith was under a doctor’s care and taking medications for his condition and that there were no signs of distress leading up to his encounter yesterday with police.
ABC News reported Moore as saying that Smith has a recent criminal history including a 2014 indecent behavior conviction involving a juvenile. That minor was a 13-year-old girl whose mother had reported as missing. Smith was accused of having sex with the child.
Police responded to a 5:30 a.m. call yesterday regarding a domestic complaint and someone in the Baton Rouge neighborhood damaging property. When cops arrived on the scene, Smith sped off in a Dodge Avenger. A police chase ensued with Smith bailing out of his car a few miles later.
When Smith jumped out of his car he was holding a semi-automatic rifle and firing at police. Police returned fire. Moore said that one of the officers involved in the chase was wearing a body camera “but it wasn’t immediately known whether he was able to activate it before the confrontation,” according to a quote from ABC News.