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  • Baton Rouge

    Two officers wounded, one detective, Terry Melancon (31) killed. Narcotic officers serving a search warrant and the asshat opened fire.
    Video from the day of
    News video with police chief dedication

    Undercover officer killed

    2 others wounded; suspect killed

    Advocate staff writers

    A Baton Rouge narcotics officer died Wednesday in a shootout between a suspected drug dealer at his Capital Heights duplex and police attempting to search the home.
    Two other officers were wounded, one seriously.

    Terry Melancon, 31, who had been with the Baton Rouge Police Department for four years, was pronounced dead at the duplex at 3634 Capital Heights Ave.

    The resident who shot the officers died at Baton Rouge General Medical Center about an hour after the shootout, said Sgt. Don Kelly, a spokesman for the Police Department.

    "The suspect has been tentatively identified," Kelly said at a 9 p.m. news conference. "Efforts to notify his family are under way. His identity won't be released tonight."

    Detectives Neal Noel, 35, who was shot in the leg, and Dennis Smith, 41, who was wounded in the head and upper torso, were both taken to Baton Rouge General Medical Center.

    Smith was later transferred to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center for further treatment.

    The shooting occurred about 3:15 p.m. when the three officers were attempting to search the duplex. Kelly said the officers had obtained the search warrant after an investigation showed "marijuana was being distributed from the residence."

    But the search did not go as planned.

    "The detectives knocked and identified themselves as police officers," Kelly said. "But the lone occupant refused to open the door, requiring investigators to make a forcible entry."

    As soon as they entered the gray and orange two-story duplex, the man opened fire on the officers.

    "As the detectives entered the residence, they came under fire from the suspect," Kelly said. "At least one (officer) returned fire and the suspect was also hit."

    A chilling message was transmitted over Baton Rouge police radios across the city: "Shots fired, shots fired. Officer down."

    In the other apartment in the duplex, Michael Brady, 30, was playing video games.

    "I remember somebody hitting the door and hearing a shotgun blast, and bullets flying through the walls (of the apartment)," Brady said. "I got down on the ground."

    After everything settled down, Brady went outside and was told by officers to go back inside his apartment.

    He said when he went out a few minutes later he saw his neighbor on the ground in handcuffs and bleeding. He said he could hear officers telling one of their fallen comrades to "hang on" and that he'd "be OK."

    "(The officer) looked pretty bad," Brady said.

    Brady was taken to the Police Department, where he was questioned by detectives.

    Brady said he's lived in the unit next to the shooter for more than a year. Brady described his neighbor as a young white man about 24 or 25 years old.

    Debra Brady, Michael Brady's mother, waited anxiously outside the perimeter of crime scene tape blocking off the streets near the duplex.

    Debra Brady had talked to her son at least once by phone, but couldn't get repeat calls through.

    "He was kind of scared when I talked to him," she said. "I just want to see him."

    By Wednesday night, the police were trying to deal with the tragedy.

    "Today is truly a sad day," Police Chief Jeff LeDuff said. "Not only for this department, for families, for this community, for this state, and based on a number of calls I have received over the last few hours, this country."

    LeDuff said hundreds of residents were lined up at the hospital prepared to donate blood to the two wounded officers.

    But mostly, LeDuff's attention was on Melancon.

    "Let me tell you about my fallen angel Terry Melancon," LeDuff told a group of reporters. "His grandfather was a Baton Rouge police officer. His uncle was a Baton Rouge police officer. He was destined to be a Baton Rouge police officer. He is a loving son. His sister's best friend. Never missed Sunday services. His mom looked at me a little while ago and she said, 'I know where he is, I'm sure he is heaven.' "

    LeDuff said he is angry that there is so much violent crime in the city.

    "It is time for the good people of Baton Rouge to say, 'Enough.,' " LeDuff said. "We have to become responsible as citizens of this community. We're doing what we can. We gave a life today doing what we could. There are 600 of us, but I need 200,000 to help us, to join forces with us, stand fast with us and let us say no to what has been going on.

    "Out hearts are filled," LeDuff said as tears streamed down his face. "But our focus is clear."

    Within minutes of the shooting, dozens of police officers arrived at what many neighbors described as a "quiet neighborhood where nothing ever happens."

    Neighbors gathered in small clusters near the intersection of Capital Heights and Steele Boulevard and tried to glimpse the activity several houses down.

    A few remembered seeing the young suspect outside the duplex, but they didn't know his name.

    While the neighborhood sees some crime, a shooting was out of character for the otherwise family friendly streets, they said.

    Caroline Owen has lived on Steele Boulevard most of her life. Her parents' home is there, and she just got her own home about four months ago.

    "There's never anything that goes on over here," she said. "Never."

    She was in her house when the shooting started, and though she couldn't see anything, she could tell the noise was coming from nearby, she said.

    Jon Korevec was working in the back yard of his Steele Boulevard home and dived to the ground when he heard gunfire.

    He couldn't see what was going on through the trees.

    "I didn't know where it was coming from," he said. "It was a lot of shooting.

    "At first I thought someone was firing an SK5 (assault rifle) or something crazy," he said. "After a while I realized there wasn't enough rhythm to it."

    Korevec's wife, Nedra, said she was upset with landlords who let such crime into the neighborhood.

    She has seen outsiders park on her street to meet for apparent drug deals, she said.

    However, that activity doesn't fit with the residents -- mostly young families with children, she said.

    Many of the homes are being renovated. Many are finished, Nedra Korevec said. "It's been regentrified."

    "There are some (homes) for $175,000 and up," she said. "It's a friendly neighborhood. We watch out for each other."

    Inside the tape, dozens of somber uniformed and plainclothes police milled about, huddled in small groups, talking to one another.

    "Everybody is just so numb. This is a tragedy for the department. This is a tragedy for the community. this is a tragedy for the families. It is very sad that this has happened again," Kelly said.

    Just 16 months ago, police Lt. Vickie Wax was killed while working extra duty at what was then the Wal-Mart on Perkins Road.

    "It feels like we just went through this," Kelly said.

    A lot of people that worked that same crime scene a year and a half ago are working this crime scene, Kelly said.

    Mayor-President Kip Holden arrived at the crime scene and hugged LeDuff.

    Col. Greg Phares of the Sheriff's Office said the shootings "bring home again in a tragic way what a terrible and dangerous profession this is. It puts people in harm's way every day."

    "The city police officers involved, I know them personally," said Phares, formerly the Baton Rouge police chief. "They're truly quality people and law-enforcement officers."

    Two vans and a station wagon from the Coroner's Office arrived within 30 minutes of the shooting, and at least 20 police vehicles and vehicles from other emergency agencies parked near the house and along side streets.

    Two Baton Rouge police motorcycle officers walked up to the yellow crime-scene tape surrounding the area and asked the officer there, "Please, is there anything we can do?"

    He checked, and they were told to handle traffic control.

    A white, red-striped fire truck was parked in front of the house. In front of the truck, a blue tarpaulin was set up to provide shade for officers working the case. At least 10 detectives carrying notebooks arrived and appeared to be investigating.

    East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control Officer Ron Cline said there was "an overweight, black Lab mix, a couple of Rottweilers and some puppies" in the house where the shooting occurred.

    Cline removed the adult dogs from the house using a pole with a loop around the dogs' necks. Cline put the dogs inside cages in his truck.

    At about 7:30 p.m., two wreckers took away two pickup trucks, including one tan Chevrolet Silverado and a silver Nissan Frontier. Officers at the scene said the vehicles belonged to the suspect.

    The department has been receiving support from surrounding police agencies in terms of manpower and resources, Kelly said.

    Grief counseling will be made available to all of those involved as well as to the whole department, Kelly added.

    Melancon, who joined the department just two weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, was a member of the Baton Rouge Police 65th Basic Academy class of 2001. He joined the Narcotics Division in July 2004. He was not married, Kelly said.

    Smith, an 18-year veteran, was named Detective of the Year in 1998 for his work in the Narcotics Division, according to an Advocate report. That year he was responsible for a project that targeted packages of drugs and drug money being sent from one place to another, and another case that netted 35 arrests connected to "rave" parties.

    Detective Neal Noel was one of two narcotics officers named Detective of the Year in 2003. In 2000, he received a certificate of commendation for discovering 25 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of a car that had been rear-ended in a wreck.

    Members of the Baton Rouge Police Department salute as officials remove the body of a narcotics agent killed Wednesday afternoon while attempting to conduct a search at 3634 Capitol Heights Ave.

    And the suspect died later.
    Last edited by Praetorian; 08-12-2005, 12:37 AM.

  • #2
    Also, an officer down in Georgia. Sad, sad week for Law Enforcement across the U.S.


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