State police kill one, wound another in drug operation

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 28, 2009


A drug investigation turned deadly late Friday morning when undercover state troopers got into what was described as an “altercation” at LaPlace Oaks, a public housing complex operated by St. John the Baptist Housing Authority.

Jeremiah Randle, 20, of LaPlace, was killed while another LaPlace man, Derrick Dennis, 26, was taken to River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace for treatment of a gunshot wound to his buttocks. A third man, 20-year-old Neon Narcisse of LaPlace turned himself in early Friday night. While authorities had earlier said Narcisse was wanted in connection with the gun battle, he had not been arrested Friday night.

According to State Police spokesman Senior Trooper Joseph Piglia, the suspects fired on the troopers, who returned fire, hitting the two men.

State Police were tight-lipped about details of the incident and Piglia declined to describe the nature of the investigation or how many troopers were involved.

At about 4:50 p.m., a caravan of law enforcement vehicles — led by two vans carrying about 10 SWAT officers each — headed south on Main Street and turned west of 5th Street. In addition to the SWAT officers, who were standing on running boards and holding onto rails, the caravan included a Humvee-type armored vehicle, at least two St. John Sheriff’s Department vehicles and three State Police vehicles. In all, there appeared to be at least 30 — and possibly more — officers.

According to Sheriff Wayne L. Jones, the entire altercation and subsequent shootout was captured on video by surveillance cameras throughout the complex in June.

One trooper was struck in the face during the altercation, Piglia said, adding that the injury was not from a gunshot. The officer was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released.