Michael Dabney came of age under the thumb of the law.
Court records for the 35-year-old man accused of shooting a New Orleans police officer Monday night in Central City paint a picture of a violent career criminal who has spent most of his life ping-ponging through the criminal-justice system.
Out of jail for six months after his most recent time behind bars, Dabney was arrested again this week after the shooting that sent Officer Troy Pichon to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg.
Dabney was booked with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, possession of a weapon or firearm by a felon and a parole violation, according to Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office records.
Dabney’s troubles with the law began when, authorities said, he was arrested for armed robbery and first-degree murder in 1995 at the age of 16.
He pleaded guilty to the armed robbery charge and was sentenced to seven years behind bars.
He was arrested again in 1999 on charges of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and was sentenced to five years.
It was unclear Tuesday when he was released from the sentence imposed for the armed robbery charge.
His rap sheet now includes more than 20 arrests.
Between 2006 and 2013, he accumulated a constellation of state and municipal charges, including aggravated burglary, domestic violence, gun charges, possession of stolen property, possessing contraband in jail, and battery charges stemming from numerous incidents.
He was sentenced in August 2010 to more than four years in prison, including time already served, on charges related to possession of cocaine and possession of heroin.
A February 2011 arrest on aggravated and second-degree battery charges — crimes that likely occurred while he was in prison on the drug charges — resulted in another 30-month sentence.
Dabney was released from Orleans Parish Prison on April 27 after he posted a bond for a second-degree battery charge that he was arrested for on Sept. 26, 2012, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Phil Stelly. It appears that arrest was related to a 2011 incident at the prison.
According to a Sheriff’s Office report, Dabney struck another inmate with a metal spoon before stabbing him five times in the torso.
It was not immediately clear why it took so long for him to be arrested on that charge.
Records show he missed a court date last week.
However, he came into contact with law enforcement again Monday night.
Sgt. Eric Gillard and Pichon were patrolling about 9:20 p.m. in a part of Central City where there has been an increase in armed robberies and carjackings.
Dabney, who wore a black, hooded sweatshirt and camouflage cargo shorts, appeared to be hiding something in the front of his waistband and kept looking toward the officers’ marked police car in a “nervous manner,” police said.
Because of his behavior, the officers tried to stop him near Third and La Salle streets.
Pichon got out of the police car and tried to speak to Dabney, who began to run north on Third Street, according to court documents.
Pichon began to chase Dabney on foot, while Gillard tried to position the police car in front of him. During the chase, Dabney pulled out a handgun from his waistband and fired at the car, according to police.
Pichon returned fire at Dabney, who spun around and fired at Pichon, striking him in the right thigh, police said. Dabney ran west on La Salle and the officers lost track of him.
Pichon was taken to Interim LSU Public Hospital as officers set up a perimeter of about 15 blocks around the corner where the shooting happened.
The search ended a little before midnight when a police K-9 dog named Bo found Dabney hiding between two houses in the 2300 block of Third Street, a few paces from where he allegedly shot Pichon.
Dabney had apparently stripped off most of his clothes in an effort to avoid being recognized as the suspected gunman and was caked in mud after he tried to hide under a house, police said.
Gillard identified Dabney as the man who shot at him and Pichon, and a gunshot residue test found that Dabney had fired a gun, according to court documents.
He was placed in handcuffs and taken to the hospital to be treated for a dog bite.
Pichon, a four-year veteran of the Police Department who previously worked as a New Orleans firefighter, was discharged Tuesday from the hospital, said Officer Frank Robertson, a department spokesman.
The Force Investigation Team, a part of the department’s Public Integrity Bureau, is handling the investigation into the incident.
Pichon was the third NOPD officer wounded in the line of duty this year.
A mentally ill man, who had been handcuffed, shot Sgt. Sidney Jackson in the thigh on Jan. 27 while Jackson was investigating a disturbance in the 7000 block of Bullard Avenue in New Orleans East. Damon Jones, 41, somehow was able to pull Jackson’s gun from its holster, despite his restraints.
John Passaro was shot twice on Feb. 23 as he responded to an armed robbery at the Dollar General store in the 1100 block of Poland Avenue in Bywater. His assailant remains at large.