Livingston sheriff questions slow response to shooting incident

Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said Wednesday he is reviewing why dispatchers didn’t properly relay the importance of a suspicious incident call — causing deputies to arrive to the scene later than they should have — that led to a standoff Tuesday evening in Denham Springs.

Ard said discipline is possible but that mistakes simply were made. Dispatchers were “not efficient as they should have been,” he said. “I feel without a doubt it’s been corrected.”

A man accidentally shot himself in the face during the standoff at the Live Oak Trace apartments in Denham Springs, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Gene Higginbotham said in a news release.

Deputies were dispatched to the complex at 5:38 p.m., but Ard said the Sheriff’s Office had received the call several minutes earlier, although he did not have a specific time the incoming call arrived.

When a call comes in, a call taker receives information and relays it to a dispatcher, who then contacts deputies, Ard said.

Somewhere along the line, the call was downgraded from a distress situation to a suspicious incident call, Ard said.

The latter is not considered as pressing as the former, so deputies did not drive to the scene with the same sense of urgency, Ard said.

“The job is when you take the call, you take as much information as possible,” Ard said. “That wasn’t done.”

Ard said he is looking into disciplining only one dispatcher at the moment.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they found a man who then barricaded himself inside one of the apartments, Higginbotham said.

The Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team was called to the scene to persuade the man to surrender, Higginbotham said.

The Special Response Team used nonlethal chemical agents inside the apartment to get the man out, and he eventually was taken into custody, Higginbotham said.

Deputies noticed what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the lower part of the man’s face.

He was taken to a Baton Rouge hospital, where he was listed in stable condition, Higginbotham said.

The incident remains under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.