The New Orleans Police Department launched an investigation of the shooting of a suspect who killed a police officer early Friday morning in an apparent ambush on the east side of the city.
NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said officer showed great restraint when they arrested the suspect, Darren Bridges, 30, after he gunned down Officer Marcus McNeil, 29, during a police stop.
“We’re proud of our officers,” Harrison said during a press conference Friday. “Our officers demonstrated great restraint, great courage, and great professionalism, even during a time of great mourning and grief.”
Harrison explained the department turned the investigation into the police-involved shooting over to NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau’s Force Investigation Team, per department protocol.
Harrison was vague in his description about McNeil’s encounter with the suspect, saying the details they’re releasing are limited due to the ongoing investigation. Harrison said investigators are still reviewing body cam, Taser and other video to understand the finer details of the shooting.
According to the public safety statement, the officers encountered Bridges just after midnight and at some point after McNeil got out of his vehicle, a struggle ensued and Bridges opened fire on the officers. Officers returned fire, injuring Bridges, who fled to a nearby apartment complex. Officers contained the area until SWAT arrived. Bridges surrendered peacefully several hours later.
McNeil was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Bridges was also transported to the hospital but remains in police custody. He faces first-degree murder, in addition to drug and gun charges, and was denied bond.
McNeil was a three-year veteran of the department and served his entire time in New Orleans’ Seventh District. McNeil leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 2 and 5. Harrison asked the public and media alike to be respectful towards the family, as well as the police department during their time of mourning.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website dedicated to tracking line-of-duty deaths of law enforcement officers, McNeil was the 104th line-of-duty death this year, the 39th by gunfire.