Bodycam footage shows man holding gun to deputy’s head before deadly shooting in Terrytown

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 5:27 PM CST
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JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto on Wednesday (March 1) released bodycam footage of a deadly Terrytown shooting involving two JPSO deputies.

The shooting happened Saturday, Feb. 25 inside the Brother’s Food Mart on Behrman Highway shortly after 4 a.m., Lopinto said.

Lopinto said the man, later identified as Kevin Veal, had two flat tires on his vehicle, claiming someone was chasing after him, trying to kill him, and requesting assistance.

“We could be planning the funeral of heroes today for several of our deputies there on the scene, and luckily, we’re not,” said Lopinto.

Deputies reportedly called a tow truck for the man and about a half hour later, Veal began causing “additional disturbances” inside the store.

In the video, deputies are seen struggling to get Veal from behind the counter, not knowing he had a firearm in his waistband.

At some point, Veal puts one of the deputies in a headlock and points the gun at the deputy’s head before running to the back into the bathroom.

Lopinto said that is when the encounter took a deadly turn.

“At that point in time -- unbeknownst to my officers the entire time -- he had a concealed weapon on him,” Lopinto said. “A fight ensued with the two individual deputies that I had here on scene, and the suspect here in this case. A pretty prolonged fight occurred, where he was able to draw the weapon and point it at one of our deputies, retreating to another part of the store. Those deputies requested additional assistance and other officers came.”

Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti said what happened next was clear from the moment Veal pointed a gun at deputies.

“It doesn’t matter what happened before the camera was turned on or outside the frame,” said Raspanti. “Those guys showed restraint. But once you point a gun at a deputy’s head, you should expect to be shot.”

Veal is heard on the bodycam footage yelling at deputies.

“The suspect came out of one of the bathrooms in the back on several occasions, pointing the gun at deputies and then firing at least one shot, which prompted a return of gunfire from one of my deputies, striking and killing the suspect here inside.”

Two deputies fired over a dozen shots, killing Veal.

Lopinto was not able to confirm who fired first. He says his deputies were responding to the gun being pulled.

Veal’s family members said they wanted to see the bodycam and surveillance footage because they did not believe the death was justified.

Lopinto showed the family still photos of Veal holding a gun to the deputy’s head.

Initial toxicology reports show the presence of THC, methamphetamines and amphetamines in Veal’s system at the time of the shooting, the parish coroner said. More details on the levels of those drugs will come in the coming weeks.

The coroner also confirmed Veal’s family had the right to hire a physician to sit in on the autopsy but opted out.

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