Sheriff: 1 officer dead, 1 injured in Louisiana shooting

Courtesy WDSU
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MANDEVILLE, La. (AP) — One police officer was fatally shot and another wounded Friday after a vehicle chase north of New Orleans, authorities said.

Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker confirmed one officer's death and the other's injury from gunfire in his community on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, near U.S. 190 and Louisiana Highway 22. Sticker said at a news conference that the wounded officer, who's being treated at Lakeview Regional Medical Center, is expected to survive.

The Mandeville Police Department told NBC affiliate WDSU that Captain Vincent "Vinny" Liberto, Junior was fatally shot during the pursuit near New Orleans.

Vincent "Vinny" Liberto, Junior was shot during a pursuit near New Orleans Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Courtesy Mandeville PD)

Officials say Captain Liberto joined the department in 1994. Before that, the 58-year-old served over 10 years in the Marine Corps.

"He leaves a wife who is grieving, children who are grieving," Sticker said. "We have an agency that hasn't lost an officer in over 50 years that is grieving. The whole law enforcement community is grieving. We're a tight-knit community. This is a bad day for Mandeville Police Department."

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith said two suspects are in custody and that a weapon has been recovered.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased officer and the injured officer," Smith said.

The suspects' names and the possible charges they face weren't immediately released.

"At this time we believe, but have yet to confirm, that no others are involved in this," Sticker said. "We're working to confirm that."

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the officers were shot after a routine traffic stop turned into a vehicle pursuit. Sticker said Louisiana State Police are in charge of the investigation and would field questions regarding what led to the shooting.

An email to a spokesman for Louisiana State Police Troop L was not immediately returned.

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister said, "When something happens like this, we are all heartbroken," she said. "But we will come together to support the officers who put their lives on the lines to protect us."