Speed Reads

Hurricane Ida

Louisiana woman shot dead after ramming sheriff's deputy with car, threatening Ida repair crew

Hurricane Ida has "left a still-untold number of people without homes and nearly a million facing an indefinite stretch with no electricity, but it also wreaked havoc on another essential service," The New York Times reported Wednesday. "Hundreds of thousands of people found themselves in places where water infrastructure was badly damaged by the storm and pumps and treatment plants were left without power. In Jefferson Parish, more populous than the city of New Orleans and right next door, virtually all residents were either experiencing water outages or under advisories to boil their water."

On Wednesday afternoon, a woman drove her car up to one crew working to repair one of the damaged water mains in Jefferson County ,"called them 'f----ng n----rs,' and demanded that they be arrested," The Times-Picayune reports, citing comments from Sheriff Joe Lopinto and video taken by a bystander. "The workers then flagged down sheriff's deputies and reported her harassment, at which point the woman twice struck one officer with her car before another deputy shot her to death." 

The unidentified middle-aged woman had previously gotten numerous orders of protective custody resulting in mental heath commitments, Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich said later Wednesday. Lopinto said "there didn't seem to be a whole lot right with her." The bystander, who said he turned his videos over to law enforcement, told the Times-Picayune the sheriff's deputies tried their best to talk the woman down and get her to leave. "Honestly, I thought she was one of [the deputies'] mothers, the way they tried to help her do the right thing," he said. "They really tried to help the lady," and "she f----d them over."

Hurricane Ida flooded the southern part of Jefferson Parish and ravaged the northern part with wind gusts, and the damage to water pipes and mains left water pressure throughout the parish at a trickle or less, according to parish Department of Public Works head Mark Drewes. "We're a broken community right now," said Cynthia Lee Sheng, the president of Jefferson Parish. "We don't have electricity. We don't have communication. We don't have gas. Our water and sewer systems are very fragile."