By Michael Kunzelman Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. — A rape suspect who was fatally shot by a Louisiana sheriff’s deputy had a document entitled “Suicide by Cop” in his shirt pocket when he killed a different deputy during a struggle over a gun, a prosecutor said Friday.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III ruled out any criminal charges in the shooting death of 30-year-old Brandon Wiley, who fatally wounded East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Shawn Anderson last year.
Relatives told investigators that Wiley was mentally ill, but District Attorney Hillar Moore III said the suspect’s mental state didn’t have any bearing on the actions of the two deputies who confronted him at a Baton Rouge hair salon on March 18, 2017.
Moore said a detective from the sheriff’s office was “wholly justified” in killing Wiley after the suspect shot Anderson.
“The (detective) had no choice but to protect himself under these circumstances,” said Moore, who released a detailed report on his review of the case.
Moore said it could help explain Wiley’s behavior if it’s true that he was mentally ill or suicidal. But the deputies didn’t know of any such problems with the suspect when they tried to arrest him at the salon where he worked, Moore said.
Wiley shot Anderson twice during a struggle for the suspect’s gun before firing at the detective, Moore said. The detective moved to shield a teenage customer in the salon and returned fire, hitting Wiley three times before he fell to the floor. The detective shot Wiley once more, after the suspect grabbed his arm, Moore said.
Anderson and Wiley both died at local hospitals. The detective’s name has not been released.
Investigators found a printout from a website, suicide.org, in Wiley’s shirt pocket. The document was entitled “Suicide by Cop” and had been downloaded on Feb. 26, 2017, Moore said.
“The first paragraph of the printout reads, ‘Suicide by cop occurs when people want to die but do not want to kill themselves. So they put themselves in a position where a police officer is forced to shoot them,'” Moore’s report says.
More called it an “unusual” discovery but added that he was “not sure what to make of that.”
Wiley’s relatives told investigators that he “liked to do a lot of research on different things” and that it wasn’t unusual for him to use a library computer to print out articles that interested him, according to Moore.
“At the time, the officers who responded had no idea that that would be in his pocket or he had those issues,” Moore said.
Wiley’s relatives also said he was bipolar and schizophrenic and had post-traumatic stress disorder, Moore said.
“We don’t have any documentation on that,” he added. “Again, it had nothing to do with the officers’ or deputies’ actions that night.”
Louisiana State Police investigated the shooting. Anderson was the first Baton Rouge law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty since a gunman, Gavin Long, ambushed and fatally shot three officers and wounded three others near a convenience store in July 2016.
Wiley had a gun in a holster on his hip and was giving a tattoo to 15-year-old girl when the detective and Anderson arrived to arrest him on suspicion of raping a different 15-year-old girl at the salon. Anderson was patting down Wiley when the detective spotted the pistol and shouted, “Gun!”
Wiley fired three shots, hitting Anderson twice, before firing at the detective, Moore’s report says. After the detective shot Wiley, they wrestled on the floor for control of the suspect’s gun, it adds.
“Wiley resisted and grabbed the detective’s arm. The detective fired another shot into Wiley in order to get Wiley to release his arm,” the report says.
Wiley, whose criminal record included a guilty plea to an aggravated battery charge, was prohibited from having a gun. Moore said he didn’t know where Wiley obtained his pistol, but it hadn’t been reported stolen.