Edwards, quiet since the incident that took place in the Village of Tangipahoa in the wee hours of last Saturday morning, held a press conference in his Hammond office Friday morning.
According to Edwards, shortly after midnight on August 11, deputies responded to the Village of Tangipahoa for a report of shots fired in the area of the Spur Station. Therefore deputies were in the area and responded quickly when an urgent call for assistance came in from security detail at Club 81, just a few blocks north of the Spur Station at approximately 2:30 a.m.
As three separate deputy units arrived on the scene, they began assisting the security detail in disbursing the crowd of approximately 250 patrons, sending them to their vehicles and asking them to leave the area and go home. While clearing the parking lot, deputies learned from witnesses that a subject, Marquis Martin was armed with a handgun, and had allegedly fired several shots into a crowd at the earlier report from the Spur Station area. When deputies attempted to confront Martin, he fled on foot.
Deputies chased Martin along Hwy. 51 to Jackson Street where they brought the suspect to the ground. While struggling with the suspect, they attempted to handcuff him. While attempting to subdue Martin, still believed to be armed, Deputy William Phebus spotted a second male approaching quickly from between two cars in the darkness.
According to Edwards, Phebus drew his weapon and extended it with his right hand towards the oncoming male. Phebus was still attempting to hold Martin to the ground with his left hand. According to Edwards, the weapon accidentally discharged one shot, striking the approaching subject.
"The deputy says he did not intend to fire his weapon," Edwards reported.
While stressing the fact that there is no reason to believe that Galmon did anything wrong, Edwards expressed his failure to understand why anyone would approach police while they were subduing someone.
Pronounced dead at the scene was 18 year old Cjavar "dee jay" Galmon.
"I immediately told all five of my deputies that were on the scene to fully cooperate with the investigation by the Louisiana State Police," said Edwards. As customary in officer-involved shootings, Edwards had requested that LSP handle the investigation.
Arriving on the scene quickly, Louisiana State Police investigators maintained the scene and remained on site for numerous hours following the incident.
LSP has contacted and interviewed all Sheriff's office employees with knowledge of the incident and witnesses at the scene.
"I have full confidence in their ability to thoroughly investigate this matter and to issue a full and comprehensive report," the sheriff said.
According to Edwards, LSP had asked Edwards not to release any information or make any statements until they had investigated. Edwards reported that he met with LSP on Thursday and the state detectives shared the progress and preliminary findings of their investigation.
"To preserve the integrity of the case, no further information will be released at this time regarding the shooting," Edwards said.
Edwards explained that the investigation is on-going and the final LSP report will be turned over to the District Attorney upon completion, as is proper in such circumstances. Edwards reported that he had not witnessed any of the questioning in the matter.
"My plan is to ask that once the investigation is complete, the DA turn the report over to a grand jury and let them make a decision as to whether or not any criminal charges are warranted. " Edwards stated.
Edwards reported that a search of Martin, 22, revealed that he was armed with a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol in the waistband of his pants. Ballistic evidence has confirmed that the handgun was the same gun that fired at least 8 shots at the nearby Spur Station earlier. Martin was arrested and transported to the Tangipahoa Parish Jail on several charges.
Deputy Phebus has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Phebus, 36, has been a TPSO deputy for 3 years. Edwards reported that this has been very traumatic on the deputy.
Edwards ended the press conference, once again expressing sorrow at the tragic event and stated, "The Galmon family will continue to be in my prayers."
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LSP investigates officer-involved shooting in Village of Tangipahoa