A Louisiana police captain was killed and another officer was wounded Friday after a routine traffic stop ended in a shootout, CNN affiliate WVUE reported.
The police chase began after a driver refused to stop, witnesses told the affiliate.
Captain Vincent “Vinny” Liberto Jr., 58, leaves behind a wife and seven children, many of whom are active law enforcement officers and military members, the Mandeville Police Department said.
“Captain Liberto was a highly decorated and respected law enforcement officer, who was known across the entire county,” the department said.
The other officer was injured and treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound but is expected to survive, Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker said in a Friday press conference. Authorities have not yet released the name of that officer.
“It’s a bad day for the Mandeville Police Department,” Sticker said.
“We have a wife that’s grieving, we have children that are grieving, we have an agency that hasn’t lost a police officer in probably over 50 years that is grieving,” Sticker said.
Two suspects are in custody, Sticker said.
The Louisiana State Police will be conducting an investigation into the shooting, authorities said.
Liberto served in the United States Marine Corps for more than 10 years, police said, and later joined Mandeville Police in 1994.
“He climbed through the ranks and earned multiple prestigious awards during his years of service, including Officer of the Year,” the department said. Captain Liberto was a graduate of the FBI National Academy, and a polygraphist.
The shooting “hit our community so very hard,” said Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere, who called the city “one of the safest places to live.”
“I have received calls, email and texts from all over Mandeville and the state of Louisiana expressing condolences and offers for help,” Villere wrote on Facebook. “We will survive, but we will never forget.”
The governor also sent his condolences.
“Today we mourn the loss of a dedicated public servant who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting the people of Mandeville and the people of Louisiana,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Twitter. “Our hearts go out to the officer’s family and friends, the people of Mandeville and the entire law enforcement community.”