Update: Convent shootout sends deputies ducking for cover
CONVENT — Six people were involved in a violent St. James Parish shootout Sunday that injured one man and had two deputies ducking for cover.
Four suspects are in custody following the altercation, and St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. said Acadian Ambulance was dispatched to the scene to render medical attention to the suspect who was shot.
He was identified as Ron Christopher Youngblood, 45, of Baton Rouge.
Martin said Youngblood was taken to an undisclosed hospital, where he is listed in guarded condition. On Tuesday morning, Major Sid Berthelot said Youngblood would undergo surgery.
Berthelot said Louisiana State Police is conducting the investigation regarding the shooting and the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office has recused itself of all investigative aspects of the case.
“Because our agency was involved in a shooting, we brought in an outside agency for an unbiased investigation,” he said.
State Police will investigate criminal charges against the four suspects, as well as if the two deputies were justified in returning fire.
Berthelot said the Sheriff’s Office will conduct an internal review of the involved officers, neither of whom he would name Tuesday morning, after the State Police investigation concluded.
A message seeking comment from State Police was not immediately returned Tuesday morning before deadline.
Neither deputy was injured in the shootout, and Berthelot said the involved officers have been placed on paid leave.
Authorities said the case began at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday, when the Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a man carrying a gun and walking along Legion Street in Convent.
Two deputies were near the scene due to a previous call of subjects armed with guns near Winnie Road in Convent. Deputies investigated the first call and found no one in the area around Winnie Road.
“Upon arriving at the second call on Legion Street, deputies came into contact with four male subjects,” Martin said. “The deputies exited their patrol units and, upon approaching them, one of the subjects opened fire with a handgun.”
The distance between Winnie Road and Legion Street is less than two miles.
Martin said one of the deputies took cover behind a patrol unit while the other took cover behind a nearby tree. Both deputies returned fire at the shooter, who was firing at them.
The shooter was struck once by the deputies’ gunfire, Martin said.
“While the deputies were approaching the shot suspect, a second suspect began firing at them from a different location,” Martin said. “After shooting at the deputies, the second shooter fled the scene on foot.”
All four subjects, including the suspected second shooter, have been taken into custody.
As of press time Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office had not provided the names of the other three suspects arrested.