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Apr 2, 2010 6:43 AM by Letitia Walker

Opelousas Man Connected to Danziger Bridge Shooting

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A convicted felon was charged Thursday with

lying to the FBI about deadly shootings on a New Orleans bridge in

Hurricane Katrina's aftermath that led to a police cover-up.

David Ryder, 45, of Opelousas, falsely claimed that he was

chasing a group of people near the Danziger Bridge when one of the

people fired a gun at him, according to the court filing.

Police officers shot and killed two people and wounded four

others on the bridge less than a week after the August 2005 storm.

Two former New Orleans police officers have pleaded guilty to

helping cover up police shooting unarmed civilians.

A police report describes Ryder as a St. Landry Parish sheriff's

deputy who was escorting a convoy across the bridge, but federal

prosecutors say he has never been a law-enforcement officer. On the

day of the shootings, he was carrying a gun, wearing a law

enforcement T-shirt and assisting with post-Katrina

search-and-rescue operations, according to the court filing.

Besides lying to the FBI, Ryder also is charged with illegally

possessing a semiautomatic pistol. He had been convicted of a

felony theft charge in Texas in 1993, making it illegal for him to

possess a gun.

Ryder was charged in a bill of information, which can only be

filed with a defendant's consent and typically signals a plea deal.

Ryder wouldn't comment Thursday.

The charges against him are punishable by up to 15 years in

prison and a $500,000 fine.

Ryder is the fourth person charged in a Justice Department probe

of the bridge shootings.

Michael Lohman, a retired lieutenant, and Jeffrey Lehrmann, a

former detective, earlier pleaded guilty to participating in a

cover-up, which included a planted gun, phony witness statements

and falsified police reports.

A former officer, Michael Hunter, was charged Tuesday with

participating in the cover-up and is expected to plead guilty April

7 to conspiracy to obstruct justice and misprision of a felony.

Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, and James

Brissette, 19, were shot and killed by police. Madison's brother,

Lance, was arrested on attempted murder charges that were later

dropped.

A police report on the shootings says Ryder identified Lance

Madison as one of several shooters who fired at him.

Ryder also told the FBI that one of the people he chased through

a trailer park near the bridge turned and shot at him.

"In fact," the court filing says, "none of the people he was

chasing fired a gun at him; he never saw any of the people with a

gun; and he never saw any of the people motion as if he or she had

a gun."

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