Posted: Mar 9, 2012 7:53 AM by AP
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans police chief Ronal Serpas says a 20-year-old man who was fatally shot by an officer as police executed a narcotics search warrant appears to have been unarmed.
The shooting happened Wednesday night at a New Orleans residence. Serpas met with reporters Thursday.
Serpas identified the dead man as Wendell Allen. He said narcotics officers, wearing jackets identifying them as police, broke into the house after they repeatedly announced their presence outside.
It was unclear what led to the shooting. "We still have a lot more information to learn," Serpas said.
A gun hidden at the residence, along with some marijuana, was found after the shooting.
Serpas and Mayor Mitch Landrieu met with Allen's family members Thursday. Both promised a full investigation.
Serpas said homicide detectives, the Public Integrity Bureau and the independent police monitor are all looking into the shooting. Landrieu noted that two FBI agents are embedded in the police Public Integrity Bureau, which investigates officer-involved shootings.
Landrieu, who hired Serpas as chief soon after taking office in 2010, inherited a police department long plagued by scandal and corruption. He asked for U.S. Justice Department help in cleaning up the department and the city is working toward entering a federal court consent decree to make sure resulting reforms are cemented into law.
Wednesday night's shooting comes less than a week after a New Orleans man was killed and two officers were wounded after an early morning traffic stop evolved into a gunfight.