UPDATE: Suspect dead, BPD officer injured in midnight call

UPDATE: Suspect dead, BPD officer injured in midnight call

A midnight trespassing call to BPD from The Merit Inn in Beaumont led to an altercation that left an officer and hotel clerk injured and the suspect dead.

At 12:02 a.m. Tuesday morning, Beaumont Police responded to a call from a clerk at the hotel. Beaumont Police Chief James Singletary said the call for trespassing quickly turned into assault when the hotel clerk was attacked by the suspect, Crederick Joseph, 37, of Opelousas, Louisiana. 

The officer, whose name isn’t being released at this time, arrived and attempted to handcuff Joseph, who individual turned on the officer and began violently resisting arrest.

“It was literally a fight for the officer’s life,” the chief said. “This individual was trying to take his weapons and took his baton off the officer and began hitting the officer on the head with it.”

Singletary said the officer suffered several “serious” wounds to the head from the attack, but was able to disengage Joseph.

“(The officer) shot him several times and the suspect died,” he said. “We are very proud of the officer’s actions, even though it sounds harsh since someone’s life was taken, but he saved his own life and the clerk’s life.”

Singletary said the suspect gave the officer “no other choice” than to use deadly force. Joseph already had multiple arrests and a history of resisting arrest.

“He committed multiple felonies like taking an officer’s weapon and attempted murder,” he said. “From what I’ve seen, the officer was definitely in a fight for his life. If he hadn’t used deadly force on the individual, his life and the clerk’s life would have been in tremendous peril.”

Officer Haley Morrow spoke with the clerk at the scene and described her as very upset and distraught after witnessing the altercation. The woman was almost apologetic because she ran away, but Morrow said the woman actually did a heck of a job keeping the line open and talking to the dispatcher and giving them important information for the responding officers.

This incident is a wake-up call, Singletary said, for officers and citizens about how dangerous this job is and how quickly something like a trespassing call can turn into deadly conduct.

“It’s a tough situation for all the officers involved,” he said. “None of our officers want to use deadly force, and when they do it hurts them. We have a tremendous support system here and we’re going to make sure this officer gets what he needs to get back to work.”

Singletary said the officer is “ok” and is back home resting and doing well. He is expected to return to work after an administrative leave. The injured officer had been with BPD for around two years, according to Singletary.

The investigation is ongoing and the DA’s office is assisting BPD with the case. The case will go to the district attorney’s office once BPD has concluded its investigation.