Lafayette —The Breaux Bridge police officer who shot and killed a 16-year-old driver in December told investigators he feared for his safety and for the well being of another officer who had fallen to his knees behind the car of the erratically driving teen.
A report by State Police, released in response to a public records request, said the teen, Darnisha Harris, was on a court-ordered, dusk-to-dawn curfew and should not have been away from her home after dark when she was killed on the night of Dec. 2.
Harris, who wore an electronic ankle bracelet on her left leg, was killed by one of two bullets that Breaux Bridge police Officer Travis Guillot fired into the car she was driving, the State Police report said.
“Officer (Travis) Guillot said the driver refused to stop the vehicle, and she refused to stop the aggression,” Trooper Dustin Guidroz said in his report on Harris’ death.
Guillot and two other officers had responded to a 911 call about a fight on Landry Street at 7:40 p.m. involving Harris and other females.
Seeing the police arrive, Harris jumped into the driver’s seat of a 2005 Toyota Corolla, telling friend Quinn Collins, “Q, I have to go. I have to go.”
The report on Harris’ death includes a 46-page narrative of witness accounts, other documents and compact discs containing crime scene photos and police video.
The documents were released this week by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office in response to a request filed under the state’s Public Records Act.
A prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Office, Jeff Traylor, presented the case to a St. Martin Parish grand jury on July 30. On July 31, the grand jury declined to charge Guillot.
The Attorney General’s Office took the case after the St. Martin Parish District Attorney’s Office recused itself.
The report said when Guillot and the two other Breaux Bridge officers responded to the 911 call, as they parked and got out of their cars, the officers saw Harris driving wildly.
She hit one police unit and other parked cars, and at least one bystander who needed hospital care, the report said.
“Officer Guillot felt as though the driver was out of control,” Guidroz wrote.
He added that after the shots were fired, the crowd that had gathered “was becoming very hostile.”
A St. Martin Parish sheriff’s deputy who arrived after the shooting told Guillot “to sit in his police unit, lock the door and get some air,” the report said.
Arriving medics with Acadian Ambulance told State Police that some people in the crowd tried to enter the ambulance.
“Medics noted the scene was very hostile and they had difficulty treating the wounded,” according to the report.
Harris, who died nine days short of her 17th birthday, was on juvenile probation for battery on a police officer, records show.
Her mother, Latonya Lewis, told State Police her daughter “would outburst sometimes and would get in trouble at school.”
Lewis said her daughter “was not scared to fight anyone and did not fear much.”
Guillot’s law enforcement experience includes time with police departments in Carencro and Breaux Bridge. He remains employed as a police officer in Breaux Bridge.
He also was a sheriff’s deputy in Lafayette and St. Landry parishes.
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