Jeff Davis

Jun 24, 2014 8:45 PM by Ashlea Bullington

Police ID man who allegedly shot Jennings officer

Louisiana State Police (LSP) now has identified George D. Lowdins as the suspect accused of shooting Jennings Police Officer Ricky Benoit.

Troopers tell KATC that on Monday, Lowdins shot Benoit, a 24-year police veteran, in the neck when Benoit and his partner responded to a domestic dispute call at Lowdins' home. Neighbors reportedly had notified police of an apparent argument they could hear between Lowdins and his girlfriend, Lashonda White.

State police report that Lowdins allegedly shot Benoit as he entered the dwelling. Benoit remains in critical, but stable, condition tonight in a Lafayette hospital. Sgt. James Anderson, a LSP spokesperson, said that it had been about 14 years since a Jennings police officer had been shot and killed, but that officers understand they potentially are putting themselves into the line of fire. Anderson indicated that the public recently has become more aware of the dangers for law enforcement after officers were shot in both Las Vegas and Washington.

"Officers always prepare for this kind of situation, but pray it will never happen," Anderson said.

Anderson explained that it is important for officers to remain vigilant and protective, while still maintaining a level of accessibility to the public.

"We always tell our officers to be prepared. You never know what is going to happen or what someone is thinking of doing. They also have to maintain a level of approachability with the people that they are protecting," Anderson explained.

Jennings Police indicated that Monday's incident is not Lowdins' first firearm-related run-in with the law. Officers report that Lowdins was sentenced in 2006 to five years in prison on drug and firearm charges. In 2009, police noted that he was arrested again for possessing firearms as a convicted felon. Again in 2010, Lowdins retaken into custody on attempted second degree murder charges that also involved White, the woman with whom he was reportedly was arguing prior to Benoit's visit to Lowdins' home.

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