A Louisiana state trooper was fighting for life Sunday night after being shot in the head by a man whose pickup truck had run into a ditch, and who got out of the truck with a sawed-off shotgun, the head of Louisiana State Police said.
Police video showed Senior Trooper Steven Vincent, a 13-year state police veteran in southwest Louisiana and member of a law enforcement family, trying to talk a man out of the vehicle stuck sideways in a ditch, Col. Mike Edmonson said Sunday night.
He said the truck door opened and the man, identified as Kevin Daigle, 54, of Lake Charles, came out with the shotgun.
"That shotgun wasn't to do anything else but hurt someone. Kill someone," Edmonson said during a news conference livestreamed by KPLC-TV.
He said the tape shows the shotgun blast. "I saw my trooper go backwards and back toward his unit, where he was going to try to get some help out there," Edmonson said.
At least two or three buckshot pellets hit Vincent, doing major damage. "His brain is not telling his body what to do," Edmonson said.
After the shooting, he said, Daigle wandered into the road and over to Vincent, asking if he was alive.
"You could hear him breathing, telling him, 'You're lucky. You're lucky — you're going to die soon.' That's the words that came out of his mouth," Edmonson said.
He said two or three drivers stopped immediately, one of them slewing around on the two-lane highway.
That driver wrestled the shotgun away from Daigle, and, with the others, got him to the ground, and snapped Vincent's handcuffs on his wrists, Edmonson said. As far as he knew, he said, the good Samaritans were unhurt.
Edmonson said Daigle had "numerous DWIs" and other arrests that he wouldn't discuss because he didn't know whether they resulted in convictions. Daigle faces charges including attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, Edmonson said.
Sgt. James Anderson, southwest Louisiana spokesman for state police, said Daigle also was in a hospital.
"He struggled with the guys who came to assist — had some scrapes on him and so on," Anderson said.
He said both men are white.
Anderson said police had received calls Sunday about a maroon Dodge pickup truck with a camper shell that was driving erratically. A bit later, it was reported in a ditch. The trooper got to the truck at 2:43 p.m., Anderson said.
Earlier, Edmonson wrote about the shooting on the department's Facebook page. The message's subject line was "Trooper Critically Injured — Prayers Needed."
"Please take a moment from your Sunday afternoon to send prayers and well wishes to the Trooper and his family in this critical time," Edmonson wrote.
Within an hour, 5,100 people had shared the post and nearly 2,000 had posted messages saying they were praying.
Edmonson said Vincent has a wife and a 9-year-old son. Edmonson said one of Vincent's brothers is also a state trooper and another is police chief in the nearby town of Iowa (pronounced "EYE-oh-way").
"His family lives and breathes law enforcement," Edmonson said.
"More than anything else, my trooper needs your prayers," he said. "He's got a long, hard fight. ... He deserves a future — not to die like this."