Lafayette

Jul 18, 2013 2:51 PM

Lafayette officers cleared in shooting of bank robbery suspect

A grand jury has cleared the Lafayette Police Department officers involved in a fatal shooting last year of a man wanted in a string of Louisiana bank robberies.

In a grand jury report, Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Simon tells The Advertiser the panel heard the case presented by the District Attorney's Office in Thomas Helvik's death. Simon says the jurors determined there wasn't "evidence of a criminal act by the Lafayette Police Officers who responded.

Police say Helvik, 41, of Port Allen, was the prime suspect in at least five robberies from Alexandria to Broussard last year.

He was shot and killed by Lafayette police officers after a Sept. 28 chase through south Lafayette.

Authorities say he stole money from the Home Bank branch on Ambassador Caffery Parkway. Officers chased a gold Ford F-250 pickup.

During the pursuit, the vehicle ran off the road into a field, where, after a short distance, he struck a fence. Police say the officers got out of their cars, and encountered Helvik, who was shot and killed.

The shooting was investigated by state police.

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