VIDEO: Police Shooting of 17-Year-Old Devon Martes

Devon Martes, 17, was shot during an attempt to murder a deputy.

Devon Martes, 17, was shot during an attempt to murder a deputy.

VIDEO: Police Shooting of 17-Year-Old Devon Martes.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a call, late Tuesday night, about two people, “rolling shiny objects down the street” near Ford Street and Cleary Avenue. Upon arriving on scene the deputies saw a male suspect running towards the back of a newspaper warehouse. Deputy David Dalton pursued the suspect when the suspect pointed a handgun at the deputy and tried to fire. The suspect’s weapon malfunctioned and the deputy shot the suspect dead.

Security footage of the incident:

The suspect was identified as 17 year old Devon Martes. At a press conference, Sheriff Newell Normand listed Devon Martes’ criminal record which started at the age of 10. The record included shoplifting, distribution of drugs, trespassing, and attempted armed robbery. Sheriff Normand went on to address a room full of reporters stating that Devon Martes “is not the victim” as well as “my deputy is the luckiest man in America.” In reference to the fact that Devon Martes actually almost succeeded in killing the deputy, but for a weapon’s malfunction that ultimately saved the deputy’s life.

The morning following the shooting, police knocked on the door of Devon Martes’ family and delivered the news of the shooting. Alesia Martes, the mother, stated “Devon was a really kind person but he just got himself caught up in too much stuff. He really wasn’t a bad boy, but he put himself in that situation. He put himself in harm’s way.” Though Martes went on to say that even though she doesn’t blame the deputies for her son’s death, the number of times her son was shot raised questions.

“They didn’t have to shoot him that many times,” Martes stated. “He’s really short and small. Six times was just too many times. But like I said, he put himself in harm’s way by doing that kind of stuff.” Though we agree with Martes that Devon Martes is ultimately responsible for the outcome of his encounter with Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, we strongly disagree with the premise that Devon Martes was shot an excessive amount of times.

Having a weapon pointed at you and reacting accordingly is an immense mental stress and even the most hardened battle tested veterans admit that counting shots in the heat of the moment is nearly impossible. Officers will fire their weapons until their attacker is no longer presenting themselves as a threat. There is no guarantee that the officer’s shots are even hitting the suspect, let alone disabling them, so the old “fire, stop, and assess” is a good way for an officer to get killed. It’s a rhetoric that has been fanned into existence through lack of education, and lawyers whose job it is to find something wrong with an officer-involved-shooting.

It’s a tragedy that this youth forced the officer to defend his life, and it’s a shame that we live in a day-in-age where we need to teach our children not to try to kill police officers.