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Sheriff’s Deputy Shot Dead in New Orleans

(CN) - A Sheriff's deputy was shot in the back "in a cold blooded murder" by a suspect he was just about to search after stopping him in a New Orleans suburb.

The 19-year-old suspect, Jerman Neveaux, was later apprehended and admitted to shooting Det. David Michel Jr., 50, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said during a news conference.

Normand said Neveaux was on probation for a previous crime and didn't want Michel to find the gun he was carrying and send him to jail.

According to the sheriff, Michel stopped Neveaux after noticing him walking behind another person who appeared to be nervous in a neighborhood in Harvey, La., an area across the Mississippi River and about 8 miles from downtown New Orleans.

Michel went to Neveaux and placed him against the police car so he could be searched, but Neveaux flipped around, according to the sheriff, facing the officer "chest to chest," then pulled out a gun and shot Michel in the back, Normand said,

"As Detective Michel fell to the ground, he fired two more shots at point-blank range into the back of Detective Michel," the sheriff added.

Michel was able to radio to say he had been shot, the sheriff said.

He died later at a New Orleans hospital.

In the aftermath of the shooting, officers flooded the Harvey neighborhood with dogs and helicopters to search for the suspect.

The sheriff said the suspect was found going through the backyards of houses in the vicinity where the shooting took place.

Normand said five witnesses identified Neveaux as the shooter. Also, he said, authorities found a gun on Neveaux and were able to match it forensically to the shooting.

Neveaux was arrested on charges of first degree murder and assault.

Normand said his office is investigating a video that was brought to their attention by a local media outlet and shows Neveaux's arrest. Normand said the video shows Neveaux "... being struck by our officers while attempting to gain control of Neveaux."

The sheriff said Neveaux was still armed at the time.

Neveaux was taken to the hospital to be treated for an orbital fracture and scrapes and cuts after his arrest, the sheriff said.

Normand praised the fallen officer at the news conference, saying he wished he had a thousand officers like him. Michel started as a reserve officer before joining the force full time. The sheriff said he knew Michel was a good man when the officer's dad said Michel would call him during or after his shift to let him know he was ok.

"I could tell in his dad's voice that he's going to miss this short call every day," Normand said.

Deputy Chief Craig Taffaro, who commands the parish's operations division, said Michel was a cheerful man who loved his job, according to the Associated Press.

"He was a great guy. He was well-liked. It was quite obvious at the hospital how many friends he had," Taffaro said.

Michel was working in the street crimes unit, which targets drug sales and criminal activity in 17 high-crime areas around the parish, Taffaro told the AP. Michel was in a black unmarked car and dressed in plain clothes with sheriff markings.

Michel's was the second shooting of a Jefferson Parish officer this year. Another officer, Stephen Arnold, was shot and wounded in January during a drug raid on a house in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward district.

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