Port Arthur police responded to reports of a vehicle accident in the 1400 block of Peck Avenue on March 27 at about 1:50 p.m. When they got there, they discovered the vehicle had been the subject of a carjacking and an ensuing struggle with the suspect ended in a fatal officer-related shooting, PAPD reports.
According to a news release from PAPD, after arriving at the scene, witnesses reported to police that the suspected carjacker had gotten into another vehicle in an attempt to escape. The male suspect was reportedly in the front passenger seat of the car and attempted to force the driver to flee. Officers then tried to detain the suspect, later identified as 19-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez of Port Arthur, who reportedly attacked one of the officers and attempted to take her service weapon.
"The suspect lunged toward the officer's weapon as she was trying to get him out of the vehicle," said PAPD Major Raymond Clark.
While the officer struggled with the suspect, another officer deployed his Taser, which "had no effect on the suspect," according to the report. Clark said that was likely because one of the prongs from the Taser did not puncture the skin of the suspect, preventing the full shock of the charge from being felt. During the altercation, the suspect took control of the service weapon, at which point the officer attempted to take cover. The second officer then fired at the armed suspect. Rodriguez subsequently died as a result of the incident. No police were injured. The victim of the initial carjacking, who was "cut" during the encounter, sustained minor injuries.
Judge Marc DeRouen is conducting an inquest, and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office is assisting in the investigation, as is required in officer-related shootings.
Major Clark said the officer was "lucky" to have backup to assist her in the incident.
"Things could have turned out a lot differently if she had not had backup," he asserted.
He also said Rodriguez, the deceased suspect, sealed his own fate.
"It's one of those situations where the individual (Rodriguez) chose the outcome of the incident," Clark said.
Toxicology results are pending.