UPDATED: Nederland Police Dept. officer on leave after Tuesday night shooting leaves suspect dead, chief says
NEDERLAND — A Nederland Police officer is on administrative leave pending an investigation following a shooting that left a 29-year-old man dead in Port Neches.
The shooting came after a call of a domestic disturbance involving a male who possibly had a firearm in Port Neches around 10:15 p.m. Tuesday. When officers arrived at the home in the 2000 block of Sixth Street the male had already left.
Police from both departments began looking for the man, described by police as a black male wearing a black shirt and khakis and armed with a 9 mm gun.
The Sixth Street residence where the disturbance was reported in Port Neches is about two blocks outside of Nederland city limits.
Nederland Police Chief Gary Porter said the male walked across Texas Avenue into Nederland and Nederland Officer Tanner Thompson located him in the 700 block of Carriage Lane.
From there the male allegedly ran back to Texas Avenue. A short foot chase was pursued to the 700 block of Texas Avenue.
“At this time, the Nederland P.D. officer fired shots at the suspect,” Porter said in a press release, adding the male died at the scene.
Porter said the chase and shooting was a one-on-one encounter, though officers from Nederland and Port Neches were all over the area searching for the male because of the report that he was armed.
A 9 mm handgun was found at the scene next to the male, Porter said,
The name of the shooting victim has not been released pending notification of next of kin.
This marks the first officer-involved shooting fatality in Nederland Police Department history, as far as Porter knows.
Details of the interaction leading up to the shooting are not known at this time, he said.
Authorities have not said if the victim fired at police.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Rangers, who are part of the Texas Department of Public Safety, are investigating the shooting.
District Attorney Bob Wortham said his office had not yet received details about the shooting as of Wednesday morning.
Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said police were looking for the man following a disturbance because he was possibly armed.
In addition, police had previously gone to calls at the Sixth Street home in the past, but Lemoine did not know how many calls or what they were in reference to.
Jefferson County Precinct 7 Justice of the Peace Brad Burnett was called to the scene and declared the male deceased. An autopsy will be conducted Wednesday or Thursday.
The goal of an autopsy is to determine the cause of death and has a hand in ruling on the manner of death.
Burnett confirmed the male died of a gunshot wound but could not say how many times he was shot due to the male wearing dark clothing, the way the body was positioned and it was dark when Burnett arrived.
Burnett could also not confirm where the victim was shot.
Officer Tanner Thompson will remain on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation, Porter said.
According to Porter, Thompson, who is white, is in his 20’s and has been on the Nederland force for approximately five years.
— Editor I.C. Murrell contributed to this report.
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