What we know: Fatal shooting of Lafayette police officer - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

What we know: Fatal shooting of Lafayette police officer

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Michael Middlebrook Michael Middlebrook
Ian Howard Ian Howard

A Lafayette Police officer is dead, two other people are wounded and a Lafayette man is in jail today following a convenience store shooting last night. 

Lafayette Police have identified their "fallen brother" as Cpl. Michael Middlebrook. He.leaves behind his wife, parents, a three-year-old daughter and two stepdaughters. 

State Police are investigating the shooting, which happened at the Big Boy Discount Zone store at the corner of Moss Street and Van Buren Drive. Police responded initially to a call of a battery, with shots fired, at the location. The suspect opened fire on police, and they returned fire. Middlebrook died in the incident. Two other people were shot; both sustained non-life-threatening injuries, State Police say. 

The shooter fled on foot after the shooting, but police arrested him a short time later. 

He has been identified by State Police as Ian Howard, 27, who was booked with one count of first-degree murder and three counts attempted first-degree murder. He's in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center now with no bond yet set for his release. 

Howard's father, Edwin Howard, told the Associated Press that "the family is in deepest shock" and had no comment about the allegations against his son.
He added, "The Howard family would like to extend the deepest sympathy to the family of Cpl. Michael Middlebrook and their friends and everyone on the force, and they'll be in our prayers."

Middlebrook was an eight-year veteran of the LPD who was recognized with an award last year for salvaging a local convenience store's garbage-bound food items and distributing them to locals in need, according to The Advocate's coverage of the event.

Accounts have been established in Corporal Middlebrook’s name for providing financial relief to his family. Donations can be made to City of Lafayette Police Department Fallen Heroes Fund through the Community Foundation of Acadiana via the following link--http://www.cfacadiana.org/LafayettePDFund

"The Lafayette Police Department is devastated by this sudden loss. We ask that you keep Corporal Middlebrook’s family and the Lafayette Police Department in your thoughts and prayers," a release from the department states.

Reaction came from the Governor's Office and the Diocese of Lafayette. 

“My heart is heavy this morning as we all woke up to terrible news both here in Louisiana and in Las Vegas, Nevada," Gov. John Bel Edwards said. "Last night, a Lafayette police officer was fatally shot while on duty. Words are never enough to show gratitude to those who pay the ultimate price while carrying out their oath to protect and serve. We are forever grateful for this officer’s service to our community.

“Louisianans have experienced the heartbreak of horrific, calculated violence in recent years and our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones and those who sustained injuries during last night’s attack in Nevada. In the wake of evil and hardship, communities across our country come together and demonstrate the inherent goodness in people. Donna and I continue to pray for the family of the slain officer here in Louisiana and for the people of Las Vegas and offer our assistance to help in any way we can.”

Gov. Edwards will issue an executive order lowering the Louisiana and American flags overall state public buildings effective today, Oct. 2, 2017, through Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.

A special service will be held tonight at the Cathedral. 

"Bishop Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette will celebrate a special “Blue Mass” tonight in honor of our community’s first responders, our law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and all others who put their lives on the line every day to protect us," a release from the Diocese states. 

"Special prayers will be offered for Corporal Michael Middlebrook of the Lafayette Police Department, who lost his life in the line of duty last night.  As we pray for the safety and protection of all first responders, we also pray for all whose lives were lost in the violence in Las Vegas last night, as well as for their families and the survivors of the attack."

Tonight’s “Blue Mass” will begin at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Lafayette. All are invited to attend.

To read and watch our stories on this, click here, here and here.  

The Advocate spoke to one man who was at the convience store just minutes before officers arrived on scene.  

Avery Cross, 29, of Lafayette, told The Advocate that the shootout took place inside the store. He said that apparently nobody realized the gunman who had shot a cashier was still inside when the officer entered the store and was killed.
Cross said he'd gone to the 24-hour store late Sunday, only to find it locked.
An employee came to the door and told him a cashier had been shot, pointing out bullet holes in the window, Cross said.
He said two officers showed up and one went inside, apparently unaware that the gunman was inside. "So when he walked in, the guy popped out and started shooting," Cross said.
He said he heard at least five shots, then the gunman then came out and fired into the air, yelling for people to back up.
"I heard the shooting and I just started running," Cross said. "When it was happening, the only thought was just to make it home."

Video of the interview is below:

KATC's Kendria Lafleur spoke with residents who live nearby where the shooting occurred. Those living there say they just want the violence to stop. Hear more of their reactions here.

The death of Michael Middlebrook is not the first to befall the Lafayette Police Department. Since 1926, five officers were killed in the line of duty. For more on the lives of those officers and the memorial that honors their commitment to the City of Lafayette, click here

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