A Louisiana state trooper died Monday after authorities say he was shot in the head and then taunted when he stopped to provide aid to a man whose truck was stuck in a ditch.
Col. Mike Edmonson, head of the State Police, said Kevin Daigle shot Senior Trooper Steven Vincent, then said, “You’re lucky, you are going to die soon.”
Edmonson said Vincent, 43, drove up on Kevin Daigle near Bell City on Sunday afternoon and then determined that his pickup’s plates matched the description of a previously reported “reckless vehicle.” Edmonson said a recording from Vincent’s cruiser shows Vincent was talking with Daigle when he opened his door, pulled out a sawed-off shotgun and shot Vincent in the head.
“I am very saddened to report that Senior Trooper Steven Vincent has passed away this morning from the gunshot wounds he suffered yesterday in conjunction with a traffic investigation,” Edmonton said Monday. “As an organization, we are heartbroken over this senseless and tragic death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his surviving wife Katherine and his son Ethan as well as his entire extended family.”
Daigle, whose criminal history includes “numerous DWIs,” will be charged with first degree murder of a police officer and aggravated battery, Edmonson said at a news conference. The investigation is ongoing, he said.
Edmonson also introduced a man identified as Robert who drew praise for stopping and providing assistance at the scene. Edmonson said Robert wrestled the gun away from the suspect and, with the help of others who stopped, handcuffed Daigle with Vincent’s cuffs. Robert, who declined to speak, then radioed for help, Edmonson said.
“He got on the radio and he said ‘We need help, we need help fast. We got a trooper who is down,'” Edmonson said. “This is a hero.”
Sunday night, an emotional Edmonson spoke at a news conference from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. He said he watched the video and saw Vincent approach the truck, promising Daigle he would help him get home.
“I watched the truck door come open and saw the shotgun blast,” Edmonson said.
He said he watched Daigle walk over to the Vincent and ask the trooper if he was alive. “You could hear him (Daigle) breathing, telling him, ‘You’re lucky. You’re lucky — you’re going to die soon.’ Those are the words that came out of his mouth,” Edmonson said.
Edmonson said several passing motorists stopped, scuffling with Daigle, 54, seizing the gun and finally handcuffing him. They also called for emergency assistance and provided aid to Vincent until help arrived, Edmonson said. Vincent, 43 was airlifted to Lake Charles hospital in critical condition.
Vincent, a 13-year veteran of the force and Army vet, is a married father of a 9-year-old son. Vincent has a brother,Terrell, who is a Louisiana state trooper. Another brother, Keith, is police chief in Iowa, La.
“Nobody wore the badge more proudly than Steven Vincent,” Edmonson said. “He embodied what it meant to be a Louisiana state trooper and a first responder.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement lauding Vincent for his courage and service. He ordered flags in the state to be lowered to half staff.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Steven’s family and all of our law enforcement members as we mourn this tragic loss,” Jindal said.