A gunman critically wounded the Louisiana State Police trooper who stopped to check on his stalled car — but passing drivers tackled him before he could flee the scene, authorities said.
Suspected shooter Kevin Daigle will likely be charged with attempted murder of a police officer for shooting Trooper Steven Vincent, a 13-year force veteran, in Lake Charles Sunday.
Vincent is in critical but stable condition after Daigle shot him twice in the head with a sawed-off shotgun, officials said.
Two good Samaritans saw the shooting and pulled over to help, Sgt. James Anderson told the Daily News. The duo tended to the wounded 43-year-old trooper, using his police radio to call for help, and wrestled the shotgun out of the suspect’s hands. They cuffed him with Vincent’s handcuffs and held him at the scene until police arrived.
“It was pandemonium out here,” Anderson said.
The chaos started when Vincent stopped to check on a suspected impaired driver stuck in a ditch along Highway 14.
As the trooper tried to coax Daigle out of his stalled car so he could make an arrest, the driver pulled out his weapon and shot Vincent twice in the head, authorities said.
The scene was captured on the trooper’s dash-cam.
“I watched … saw the door come straight open and he pulled out a shotgun — a sawed-off shotgun. I watched that shotgun blast. I saw my trooper go backwards,” the agency’s top cop, Col. Michael Edmonson, said at a press conference late Sunday. The footage is not expected to be released in the immediate future.
Then, the suspect — still holding the shotgun — allegedly paced around the roadway and asked the motorists if Vincent was still alive.
Daigle leaned over Vincent, laying wounded on the ground, and told him, “You’re lucky you’re going to die,” officials said.
That’s when a couple of passing drivers pulled over to help the wounded trooper — and take down the man suspected of shooting him.
“They stopped to help my trooper and I will never forget that,” Edmonson said. “I was pretty proud of them.”
Vincent was airlifted to a local hospital. As of Sunday night, he was in critical, but stable condition.
“The gunshot wound to his head messed up his neurological output. Simply as I can put it, his brain is not telling his body what to do,” Edmonson told reporters.
Edmonson has stayed by Vincent’s side to comfort the trooper’s wife and family since the shooting. The couple has a 9-year-old son, he said.
“I held his hand with his wife and I just prayed,” Edmonson said. “I didn’t know what else to do.”
Vincent hails from a family of law enforcement and the armed service. His brother, Keith Vincent, is the chief of police in Iowa, La., and another brother is a state trooper. The three have participated in Wounded Warrior Project marathons together.
Please send prayers for a Louisiana State Trooper who was shot during a traffic stop today.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) August 23, 2015
Louisiana State Police awarded Vincent with a professional excellence award for reducing illegal drug trafficking and violent crime in Jennings. He also earned a meritorious service award in 2012 after arresting an alleged bank robber.
Daigle, who was previously known to local authorities, was briefly hospitalized for minor injuries sustained during the incident, before being questioned by authorities. He is expected to face charges of attempted murder of a police officer.
ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.
With Meg Wagner