Scoot: Was Louisiana state trooper “trigger happy” when he shot wrong-way motorist on Bourbon St?

June 04, 2019 - 12:39 pm

A man driving the wrong way on Bourbon Street last Thursday night refused to obey orders from state troopers to stop. A Louisiana state trooper made the decision to shoot 42-year-old Eric Kullander, fearing that he could have continued on to run over pedestrians. Now, there is some controversy over whether the state trooper was justified in shooting Kullander.

The attorney for the wrong-way driver, Jeffrey Smith, is questioning whether the trooper’s only option was to shoot his client. Smith is asking if there was another way for the troopers to handle the situation.

Video of the incident clearly shows a car driving the wrong way up Bourbon Street with pedestrians on the street. Two state troopers are seen attempting to stop the driver.  When he refuses to, one of the troopers fires into the car, hitting Kullander in the stomach. Kullander was taken by EMS to University Medical Center in New Orleans.

Immediate reaction to the shooting was mixed. Many applauded the state trooper for shooting the driver because of the fear that the driver would mow down pedestrians. Terrorists have been known to use vehicles as weapons.

Al Qaeda encouraged recruits from the West to use vehicles as weapons to kill innocent people. In 2010, an article titled “The Ultimate Mowing Machine” called for radicalized individuals to use a vehicle as a “mowing machine, not to mow grass but mow down the enemies of Allah.”

Here are a few recent terrorist attacks where a vehicle was used as a weapon to kill innocent people:

  • August 14, 2018: a car crashed through security barriers outside of the UK’s House of Parliament during morning rush hour injuring several people.
  • July 29, 2018: 4 cyclists were killed and 3others injured when a car ran them over in Tajikistan. ISIS claimed responsibility.
  • October 31, 2017: 8 people were killed and nearly a dozen others injured when a truck drove down the bike lane near the World Trade Center in NY.
  • August 17, 2017: 13 people were killed and nearly 100 injured when a vehicle ran over pedestrians at a popular tourist area of Barcelona, Spain.

And there were many more incidents where a vehicle was used as a deadly weapon.

With those facts available, there should be no question that the trooper did the right thing when he shot a driver of a vehicle driving the wrong way up Bourbon Street with pedestrians everywhere.

And yet, an attorney is questioning whether it was the right thing. I think he did the right thing and should be applauded for making the tough decision. The driver admitted that he made a mistake and was going the wrong way.  But if he was so innocent in his actions, then why didn’t he stop when troopers ordered him to stop? At that moment, there was every reason for the trooper to believe that the driver may have the intent of killing people on Bourbon Street.

Imagine the public outcry if the trooper had not shot and stopped the driver and pedestrians were hit and injured or killed?

Could the wrong-way driver’s attorney see this as a case where he can bring up the idea that the trooper could have handled the situation differently and lead to a lawsuit or settlement with the state for a big pay off?

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