By Nicole Hensley
Updated: Sunday, August 23, 2015, 11:11 PM
New York Daily News
[see website for photos and video of the shooter being arrested]
A gunman who critically wounded a decorated Louisiana State Police trooper Sunday afternoon near Lake Charles was tackled by passing motorists, authorities said.
Army veteran and 13-year veteran of the state agency Trooper Steven Vincent stopped to check on a suspected impaired driver stuck in a ditch along Highway 14 only to be shot in the head with a sawed-off shotgun during the ensuing arrest, Sgt. James Anderson told the Daily News.
Vincent is now fighting for his life after being struck with at least two shotgun pellets while coaxing the suspect out of the truck.
“It was pandemonium out here,” Anderson said.
A pair of good Samaritans pulled over to help the unconscious 43-year-old trooper and used his radio to call authorities. The motorists wrestled the shotgun out of the suspect’s hands and detained him with Vincent’s handcuffs.
The suspect was later identified as 54-year-old Kevin Daigle, of Lake Charles.
“They stopped to help my trooper and I will never forget that,” the agency’s top cop, Col. Michael Edmonson, said at a press conference late Sunday. “I was pretty proud of them.”
Edmonson watched dash-cam footage of Vincent’s encounter with Daigle up to the moment the good Samaritans tackled the suspect to the ground.
“I watched ... saw the door come straight open and he pulled out a shotgun — a sawed-off shotgun. I watched that shot gun blast. I saw my trooper go backwards,” Edmonson said of the video. The footage is not expected to be released in the immediate future.
The suspect, still holding the shotgun, then paced around the roadway and asked the motorists if Vincent was still alive.
He was, leading Daigle to allegedly speak directly to Vincent as he lay on the ground: “You’re lucky you’re going to die.”
Vincent was airlifted to a local hospital where Edmonson spoke of Vincent’s 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 said.