Sunday, December 3

2 JP deputies arrested on manslaughter counts in shooting that left man dead

Sheriff Joe Lopinto said both men’s statements were consistent with the body cam footage. Both men turned themselves into law enforcement.

HARVEY, La. — Two Jefferson Parish deputies have been arrested on manslaughter warrants in the shooting of 34-year-old Daniel Vallee last week in front of a home in Marrero, Sheriff Joe Lopinto said Monday night.

Lopinto said the two officers, identified as 29-year-old Isaac Hughes and 35-year-old Johnathan Louis, were part of a group of five that surrounded Vallee’s car while responding to a 911 call about a noise complaint last Wednesday. Lopinto said that despite begging, pleading and threatening Mr. Vallee, he would not get out of the car and at some point dropped his hands, apparently causing the horn to honk, causing one of the officers to fire. Lopinto said that the first officer’s shooting caused the second officer to shoot in reaction.

“The use of force in this situation was not justified,” he said. “As much as I would like to defend them.” Lopinto said Vallee was not armed.

Lopinto said Vallee put his officers in a “highly stressful situation.” He called the home that Vallee’s car was parked in front of was a “known crack house.”

Hughes is listed as having been with the department for nine years, two of those on patrol. Louis has been with the department for one and a half years. Both men turned themselves in for arrest.

Lopinto said all of the officers who were at the scene were questioned and that none of them lied to him in his opinion. “Body cam video backed up the statements,” he said. “Unfortunately, we can’t justify the use of deadly force.”

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The shooting death of Vallee is the first by officers since the implementation of body cameras by Lopinto.

Lopinto said that Vallee was wanted for questioning for a couple of thefts in Plaquemines Parish and an investigation into an overdose in Gretna. He said those facts weren’t known by the officers at the time.

Last Wednesday deputies responded to a 911 complaint in the 500 block of Wilson Street around 2:15 am At the scene, deputies made contact with a man, later identified as Vallee, who refused to exit his vehicle.

Surveillance video showed deputies surround the vehicle and after about 13 minutes of interaction one or more of the deputies opened fire, killing Vallee.

“After several minutes of deputies speaking with the suspect and attempting to secure his cooperation, the suspect escalated his refusal to cooperate by starting his vehicle’s engine,” the sheriff’s office said in a brief statement at the time. “Deputies who were in the direct path of the vehicle discharged their service weapons, striking the suspect several times.”

It was believed to be the first deputy shooting since the department had its officers begin wearing body cameras.

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