Ascension Parish Deputies investigate police shooting of robbery suspect

A police officer who shot and wounded a fleeing armed robbery suspect Sunday appears to have followed department procedures and Louisiana law, Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said Monday.

Gonzales police Sgt. Gary Ferrari shot and wounded Daniel West, 33, 14390 Whispering Oaks Drive, Gonzales, inside an apartment complex after officers chased West across Ascension Parish in a stolen Domino’s Pizza delivery car with company signs on the roof and door, police said.

Wiley confirmed Monday afternoon in a statement that his detectives are investigating the shooting that followed the 15-minute, high-speed pursuit.

“All evidence, including independent eye witnesses, indicates that the officer involved and the Gonzales Police Department acted in full accordance with policies, procedures, and State law,” Wiley said.

Ferrari, a patrol supervisor and an 11-year veteran of the Gonzales Police Department, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a procedural review of the shooting by city police, Detective Sgt. Steven Nethken said.

The procedural review is separate from the Sheriff’s Office investigation, Nethken said.

Nethken said the shooting occurred just outside the city limits at the Fox Run apartment complex.

West, who Nethken said has an extensive criminal history, including arrests for burglary and felony theft going back to 1998, led police on the chase through city and parish neighborhoods after holding up the Domino’s delivery driver about 8:30 p.m. Sunday at gunpoint, Nethken said.

West stole the driver’s Ford Focus and $20 shortly after the driver parked at Domino’s, 1829 N. Airline Highway, Gonzales.

After several attempts to stop the car, Nethken said officers were able to use a spike strip to stop him near the intersection of Roddy and Churchpoint roads.

Armed with a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol, West ran inside the Fox Run apartments near the intersection with the police in pursuit.

West was closely followed into the complex by a Gonzales police officer, who immediately notified other officers that West was armed with a handgun, Wiley said.

West ran into a second officer driving in his patrol car inside the complex.

Nethken identified this officer as Ferrari, whom Nethken said cornered West in the back of the complex.

West, holding a handgun, turned around and confronted Ferrari, Nethken said.

“And that is when shots were fired,” Nethken said.

Wiley said that West confronted Ferrari before he could even get out of his patrol car and Ferrari fired several shots at West, hitting him once.

Nethken said West was shot in the neck.

Mary Adkins, 64, who lives in the apartment complex, said she heard three shots Sunday night.

“I was setting, watching TV when I heard a ‘pop, pop, pop’ and I thought, ‘Them’s gun shots,’ and then I thought, ‘Oh, no, it’s fireworks,’” she said Monday.

Only later when she looked outside and saw police cars did she realize what she had heard was in fact gunshots, Adkins said.

West remained in critical but stable condition Monday at Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center in Baton Rouge.

He is in a critical care unit under guard by Gonzales police officers, Nethken said.

Gonzales police have obtained warrants for West’s arrest on counts of armed robbery, aggravated flight from an officer and felony theft, Nethken said.