The fatal shooting of a 31-year-old Black man by police in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Friday night has sparked a state probe.
The Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations announced in a press release Saturday that it is investigating the killing of Trayford Pellerin on Friday night.
The incident in Lafayette, a city about 56 miles west of Baton Rouge, occurred after police responded to a report of a disturbance at around 8 p.m. “involving a person armed with a knife at a convenience store,” the state police investigative bureau said in the release.
Upon arrival, officers encountered Pellerin in the parking lot of the convenience store.
As officers “attempted to apprehend Pellerin, he fled the scene and a foot pursuit ensued,” the release said. “Officers deployed Tasers as they pursued Pellerin, but they were ineffective.”
Pellerin tried to enter inside another convenience store at a gas station while “still armed with a knife,” the release said. “Officers discharged their weapons and he was struck by gunfire.”
Pellerin was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Part of the police pursuit and the shooting was caught on video by a woman who witnessed the incident while inside a car near the gas station.
The video, which was posted on social media, shows a Black man wearing a white T-shirt with long pants being pursued by police.
“We gotta witness this,” the woman recording the video is heard saying to another person with her in the car. “That man’s got a knife. They’re going to shoot him,” the woman says as she continues filming.
“They’re tasing him,” the woman says as at least four officers are seen surrounding the man in front of the gas station’s convenience store. “He’s not even doing nothing,” Shortly afterward, a flurry of gunshots can be heard.
“Oh my God, they just shot this man. They literally just killed this man in front of me,” says the woman.
Lafayette’s interim police chief, Scott Morgan, said at a joint news conference with state police that his department could not comment on specifics about the incident, according to KLAF, an NBC affiliate in Lafayette.
Morgan said his department turned the matter over to state police in order to have an independent investigation of the shooting.
He also said that at that point he did not have the exact number of officers involved in the incident.
The officers involved will be placed on administrative leave with pay pending the conclusion of the investigation, the acting police chief said, according to The Acadiana Advocate.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump reacted to the news on Twitter, saying of Pellerin, “He reportedly had a knife and was walking away from police, but didn’t deserve to die — they acted as judge jury and executioner. We demand JUSTICE and ANSWERS. #BlackLivesMatter.”
The local NAACP was planning a call-to-action rally at the scene of the shooting Saturday evening.
Jay Varela and Gabriel Samandi contributed.