BRPD officers claim they shot, killed man in self-defense

The Baton Rouge man shot and killed by police officers during an early Sunday morning chase had served years in prison for a murder he committed as a 14-year-old — the first person in the parish convicted under a 1994 law that allowed people that young to be tried as an adult for violent crimes.

As a result of the Sunday shooting, two Baton Rouge police officers are on paid administrative leave.

One of the officers shot and killed Tyris Wilkerson as he tried to run over officers, a police spokesman said.

Wilkerson, 32, 2637 Laurel St., was shot and killed at South Eugene Street and Louisiana Avenue at 12:20 a.m. Sunday, Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.

Baton Rouge Police Department policy calls for all officers involved in shootings to be put on paid administrative leave. The two officers’ identities will not be released until Monday, McKneely said.

Police attempted to stop Wilkerson’s 1997 Mercury Mountaineer in the 1400 block of Dalrymple Drive for an unspecified traffic violation, McKneely said. Wilkerson refused to stop and drove through several neighborhoods as police pursued him.

The two suspended officers were trying to help other officers stop Wilkerson at South Eugene and Louisiana when Wilkerson sped straight at them.

One of the officers fired multiple shots into the front windshield, striking Wilkerson in the head. Wilkerson died at the scene, McKneely said. The investigation is ongoing.

Wilkerson was the subject of a high-profile murder case in the mid-1990s because of his age at the time of the killing.

A jury convicted Wilkerson in 1996 of second-degree murder after shooting 40-year-old Frederick Young in September 1994. Wilkerson was 14 when he killed Young but was 15 when he was convicted.

Wilkerson was the first person in East Baton Rouge Parish to be tried under a 1994 law that allows people who are 14 when they commit serious crimes to be tried as adults.

Wilkerson was sentenced to 16 years in prison, the maximum allowed by the law. Wilkerson had to be released at his 31st birthday, which was in 2011.

He would have been kept until age 21 had he been tried in the juvenile system.

Wilkerson was arrested in May on suspicion of possessing crack cocaine in his car. He was formally charged by the District Attorney’s Office in a bill of information filed June 19.