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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -
One person was hospitalized, 3 people are in jail, and a family dog was shot in the process. The events are all part of a frightening chain of events Monday as a carjacking and assault turned into a police pursuit.
In a press release issued 24 hours after the incident, Lake Charles Police Deputy Chief Mark Kraus said the ordeal began Monday afternoon when 3 men approached another man in the parking lot of the Cinemark theater on West Prien Lake Road and stole his vehicle, but not before beating him.
Kraus said officers were able to catch up to the suspects on Ryan Street and pursue them as they drove the stolen vehicle to the parking lot of the Capital One Bank branch at the corner of Prien Lake and Ryan. The suspects bailed from the vehicle near Fiske Street and ran through several yards in the residential area.
Police officers eventually arrested 2 juvenile males and a 19 year old man, Donnie Caldwell Leonard, of Duson. Leonard and the two juveniles faced car jacking, simple robbery, and resisting charges.
During the foot chase, officers encountered a family dog that had gotten loose from a yard after the suspects left a gate open. One of the officers involved in the foot chase shot the dog after police said the dog began running toward him.
"After visiting with the family of the deceased dog today, our hearts are heavy for them as well as the police officer that was involved," Kraus said in the statement.
"We don't know how this could have been avoided right now, as there are no winners in this case. A man who was brining his parents to the movies was beaten so badly that he had to go to the hospital."
The following is a press release from the Lake Charles Police Dept.:
On July 2, 2012, at approximately 4:56 p.m. the Lake Charles Police Department was dispatched to 548 West Prien Lake Road, Cinemark Movie Theater, in reference to a robbery and car jacking. While enroute to the scene, Lake Charles Police dispatch advised the suspects were south bound on Ryan Street in the victim's stolen vehicle. Police Officers observed the victim's vehicle south bound on Ryan Street and initiated a traffic stop. The suspects continued south bound on Ryan Street until reaching the intersection of Prien Lake Road and Ryan Street. The suspects then turned into the parking lot of the Capital One Bank on the northeast corner of Ryan Street and Prien Lake Road. The suspects continued through the parking lot before stopping the vehicle on the north side of the property near Fiske Street. Police Officers observed 3 black males exit the vehicle after it stopped and flee east bound jumping fences through back yards. Lake Charles Police Officers gave foot pursuit and apprehended one adult male and two juvenile males.
Investigation revealed that on July 2, 2012 between the hours of 4:30 P.M. to 4:55 p. m., a white male victim was leaving his vehicle that was parked in the northwest parking lot of Cinemark after putting a package in it, when he was approached by three black males. These three suspects then cruelly beat the victim until they obtained the keys to his vehicle and fled the scene until encountered by Lake Charles Police Officers. Once the foot pursuit began, officers chased the suspects through back yards. In doing so, it is believed that one of the suspects ran into the back yard of 3204 Hodges Street and fled through a gate which led to the front yard. The suspect left the gate open which allowed the family dog the ability to chase after the suspect. One of the pursuing police officers ran in front of 3204 Hodges Street, the dog diverted his attention from the suspect to the police officers and began running towards him. The police officer now felt he was being attacked by the dog and was forced to discharge his weapon which fatally wounded the dog. All three suspects were arrested in the area by other responding police officers.
An internal investigation is being conducted which is protocol anytime a police officer discharges his weapon.
After visiting with the family of the deceased dog today our hearts are heavy for them as well as the police officer that was involved. We don't know how this could have been avoided right now, as there are no winners in this case. A man who was bringing his parents to the movies was beaten so badly that he had to go to the hospital. Three suspects, two of whom are juveniles are in jail for a violent crime and their parents are sad. The police officer who was involved in the shooting is being scrutinized for his actions, and equally as important a family lost their beloved dog though no fault of their own.
Suspect: 19 year old black male Donnie Caldwell Leonard - address, Duson, LA 70529