Crackdown on Crime - 1990 Police Shooting

By Marty Briggs - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - On August 2nd, 1990, a Lake Charles police officer reported for work at his off-duty job, which was to provide security at the old Days Inn hotel on Highway 171.  The officer had no way of knowing that soon after arriving at work, he would be fighting for his very life against two aggressive burglary suspects.  The officer was shot during his struggle with the men, but thankfully, his wounds were not life-threatening and he continues to work at the Lake Charles Police Department to this day.  However, his assailants on that night have yet to be caught, and that's why your help is needed in solving this crime.

It was at this site on Highway 171 where the Days Inn hotel once stood.  Back in the late Summer of 1990, 26-year old patrol officer James Milner was working an extra-duty job at the hotel as an overnight security officer.  While patrolling the parking lot, Milner stumbled upon a suspect burglarizing a vehicle.  He told him to stop, but was immediately attacked from behind by a second suspect.  A fight ensued, and as it turns out, Milner was fighting for his life.  "We know the guy committing the actual burglary is a black male with dreadlocks wearing a white t-shirt.  We think that the guy that jumped Officer Milner from behind is a white male wearing a red t-shirt.  We know that he had some type of ligature in his hand.  It could have been anything.  It could have been a rope, a t-shirt that he had gotten out of another vehicle, but in some fashion a police officer was choked to the ground, fell to his knees, the other guy got out of the vehicle, fought for Milner's gun, lost that weapon, and as a result of that was shot," says Sergeant Mark Kraus with the LCPD.

Milner was able to fight the suspects off, but not before one of them grabbed his gun and shot him through the right shoulder.  "We have some serious concerns about somebody engaging a police officer that way because a police officer, with the authority in which he is sworn to have, when somebody challenges that police officer, and the authority he has, that person will walk over, or kill, or not even worry about somebody who does not have that authority," adds Kraus.

Sergeant Kraus is hoping that someone has information about this crime and would be willing to step forward.  "Somebody somewhere knows about this.  It's too powerful an investigation. When somebody shoots a police officer, it affects the community too much.  It ripples not only through Lake Charles, not only through the parish, but probably southwest Louisiana and even the state, that a policeman has been shot.  Society doesn't like it when those good guys get hurt."  Kraus goes on to say, "Just maybe, with a little good luck and a lot of great science, we may be coming to your house, and it's you who has to sleep and worry if the police are going to show up because 18 years ago you shot a cop in a parking lot who was trying to make an honest living."

Once again, Detective James Milner made a full recovery from his gunshot wound and is still employed by the Lake Charles Police Department.

Evidence from this case is now being processed for DNA in the hopes of finding new clues that will lead to an arrest.