Updated: La. Sergeant Slain in Unprovoked Attack
October 24, 2010
SHREVEPORT, LA – Flags are at half staff today to memorialize a fallen Shreveport Police Department officer.
Sgt. Tim Prunty, 44, was shot and killed early Sunday morning when a man drove up to the officer and opened fire.
“The city of Shreveport lost a hero,” said Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw. “A hero to the community, to law enforcement and to his family.”
Christopher Cope, 24, is charged with one count of first-degree murder. He is also charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder from an incident that happened an hour before the shooting. Cope was booked into the Shreveport City Jail.
Prunty was an officer for the Police Department for 19 years and was a patrol supervisor in west Shreveport. At the time of the incident, he was patrolling his beat.
“He was checking on a business that stays open late,” Shaw said.
About 3:30 a.m., Prunty was standing outside Circle K in the 3300 block of Bert Kouns Industrial Loop talking to a store clerk when Cope drove up and opened fire on the officer, according to police. Prunty returned fire before falling to the ground, police said. The clerk was not injured.
There was no provocation before the shooting and that, to his knowledge, their paths had not crossed previously, Shaw said.
“A lone gunman stepped out of the vehicle unprovoked and opened fire,” he said. “Sgt. Prunty was struck multiple times, and as a result, he died.”
Shaw then added: “The suspect had no reason to do what he did.”
Cope, 24, then fled the scene but was found a short time later driving north on Pines Road near W. 70th St. Officers tried to pull Cope over but when he didn’t, he was pursued. Cope pulled over on Rasberry Lane near Financial Plaza. He was taken into custody without incident. Prunty was taken to LSU Hospital in Shreveport where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Cope confessed to shooting Prunty, but the investigation continues.
“At this point it’s early in the investigation.”
Cope is being held in City Jail on a charge of first-degree murder. He has prior misdemeanor arrests that include reckless operation of a motor vehicle, hit-and-run driving and underage DWI, court records show.
Police also suspect Cope of shooting at a guard at the Southern Trace subdivision an hour before the shooting. The guard was unharmed.
“Anyone who is out to do this type of thing to a police officer doesn’t need to be a part of society, and the jail isn’t good enough,” said Joyce Bowman, chairman for Shreveport City Council and the Public Safety Committee. "When they start doing this to our officers, we have a problem. There is no reason for it. These folks have families too, and they have a job to do.
“My heart goes completely out to the officer’s family and the entire Police Department.”
The last time a Shreveport officer died in the line of duty was February of 1995. Officer Christopher Hays died while responding to a call in south Shreveport while he was off duty but working a security job.
In 1992, Shaw, while a narcotics agent for the department, witnessed officer Ronald Dean Jr. get shot while issuing a search warrant. The two were among a team of narcotics agents who kicked in the door of a south Shreveport apartment. An occupant of the apartment opened fire, shooting Dean in the chest.
“Day in and day out police officers do a job that at times is thankless “» we do it to the best of our ability,” the chief said.
Funeral services for Prunty are pending. Mayor Cedric Glover ordered all flags to be at half staff until the funeral.
Sergeant Tim Prunty was shot and killed in an unprovoked attack at approximately 3:30 am. He was standing next to his patrol car outside of a convenience store on Bert Kouns Industrial Loop when another car pulled into the parking lot and the driver opened fire.
Sergeant Prunty was struck by several rounds but was able to return fire before collapsing. He was transported to LSU Health Science Center where he succumbed to his wounds.
A witness was able to provide a description of the suspect’s vehicle. Officers located the vehicle a short time later and took the suspect into custody after a short pursuit. It is believed that the man was responsible for shooting at a security guard earlier in the morning. He was charged with first degree murder in connection with Sergeant Prunty’s death and attempted murder in the connection with the shooting of the security guard.
Sergeant Prunty had served with the Shreveport Police Department for 19 years. He is survived by his twin brother, who also serves with the agency.