A sheriff’s deputy was shot and injured while attempting to conduct a routine traffic stop in Lousiana on Sunday morning, leading to a massive manhunt after the suspect fled.
Numerous law enforcement agencies in the Baton Rouge region joined in the coordinated six-hour search that ended with a shootout and the death of the suspect, NBC News reported.
Traffic stop escalates to shooting
The incident began shortly after 7 a.m. when an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputy attempted to pull over a driver who appeared to be falling asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle, according to New Orleans ABC affiliate WGNO.
That suspect refused to stop, however, prompting a chase in which shots were fired from the suspect’s vehicle toward police. The chase soon ended when the suspect’s vehicle crashed, and the manhunt began after the individual being pursued disappeared into nearby woods with a rifle.
Thankfully, according to the sheriff’s office, “the Deputy was transported to the hospital and subsequently released with a graze wound,” and is expected to recover just fine, as NBC News reported.
Massive manhunt launched
According to a Facebook post from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, the suspect who was shot dead by law enforcement following the six-hour manhunt was identified as 39-year-old Bernard Ledlow.
The massive search for Ledlow involved establishing a perimeter around the wooded area in which he had taken refuge and involved boats on the river, a helicopter in the air, and both K-9 and SWAT teams on the ground. As a precaution, all of the residents who lived in the sparsely-populated area were temporarily evacuated for their own safety, NBC News noted.
The search was joined by the sheriff’s offices of neighboring Ascension and Livingston parishes, the Louisiana State Police, Baton Rouge Police, and other first responders including firefighters and EMS workers.
Suspect had lengthy rap sheet
According to Baton Rouge ABC affiliate WBRZ, the suspect was a man with a lengthy criminal record who had only recently been released from prison following a long sentence.
Ledlow had reportedly been arrested more than a dozen times and had multiple felony convictions on his record, including one for armed robbery from 1999. He had just been released from a federal prison only months earlier after serving a 17-year sentence for federal drug and gun charges.
His status a convicted felon who was prohibited from possessing firearms and was supposed to have been on supervised release for the next three years may have prompted his fateful decision to run away from and engage in a shootout with the police.
Fortunately, the deputy who was shot during the incident is expected to fully recover, and no innocent civilians were harmed during the pursuit of this suspect, according to reports.