Sheriff: Man slams into Angola gate, hits investigator

Location of Louisiana State Penitentiary
Location of Louisiana State Penitentiary

Guards at Louisiana State Penitentiary opened fire Sunday afternoon on a man accused of ramming his car through the prison’s gates, hitting a prison investigator inside the complex after kidnapping his two children from Terrebonne Parish.

Angola Assistant Warden Cathy Fontenot said authorities do not know why Floyd Tillman drove with his children across the state to Angola and they do not think he has any connection to the prison.

Tillman approached the gates then retreated several times before driving through the barriers at 2:34 p.m., amid gunfire from guards, Fontenot said.

Fontenot and Warden Burl Cain told several media outlets that their guards knew the children were inside the car but they followed protocol in an attempt to stop the vehicle.

Once inside the prison, Tillman immediately turned left and drove up to the Mississippi River levee, Fontenot said.

A prison investigator followed him in a car and their vehicles collided at 2:57 p.m., Fontenot said.

No injuries were reported from the gunfire and the investigator sustained minor injuries, Fontenot said.

Tillman has been turned over to the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office, Fontenot said.

“I really don’t know what his motive was,” Sheriff J. Austin Daniel said. “Supposedly the kids that he kidnapped were his own kids and he told the officers that the momma was in prison, so I don’t know what he was doing.”

Fontenot said Tillman kidnapped his two children, ages 8 months and 2 years old, from Terrebonne Parish earlier Sunday.

Tillman will be booked, but Daniel did not know what the counts will be.

State Police is assisting with the investigation, Fontenot said.