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Webster Parish officer fatally shot responding to disturbance call; suspect in custody

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Posted at 9:41 AM, Jul 10, 2021

An officer died after being met with gunfire while responding to a disturbance call at a home in a small village in Webster Parish, officials said.

William Earl Collins Jr. was fatally shot while responding to the home in Doyline, and died just before 8 p.m. Friday, Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker told a news conference. The sheriff did not provide Collins’ age, but said he was known as “Billy” and had been with the sheriff’s office for about 10 years.

Collins was a Webster Parish deputy but was working as a patrol officer for Doyline when he responded to the call. Parker said Collins was the first officer to arrive on the scene. Two other deputies also responded but were not hurt.

According to KTBS, the responding officers were met with gunfire, and Collins was shot in the head. The other two deputies were not injured, but their patrol units and a Doyline patrol car were damaged by gunfire. Collins was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries, which he later succumbed to and was pronounced dead, State Police say.

Multiple law enforcement agencies converged on the active crime scene and it was secured, LSP say. According to Sheriff Parker, about 200 officers from the parish and surrounding area responded to the scene. Negotiators repeatedly attempted to contact the suspect, to no avail, LSP say.

After several hours of repeated attempts to peacefully rectify the situation, authorities entered the residence. They discovered that the suspect had incurred a gunshot wound, according to State Police. Life-saving measures were started and medical personnel brought him to a local hospital, where he remains in serious condition.

News outlets reported two loud bangs could be heard just before 11 p.m., and then the suspect was taken into custody, the Associated Press reports. Parker declined to give further details or identify the suspect but said he was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Doyline is located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Shreveport. Its population in the 2010 census was about 800 people.

Mayor Steven Bridwell said he has lived in Doyline for most of his life.

“This has got to be the most tragic day that I’ve ever experienced here,” he said.

"It just breaks my heart, because every time we put on this uniform and we go out and we try to serve the public...this could happen to anybody, this could happen to any one of us," said Sheriff Parker.

Louisiana State Police, along with Mayor Bridwell and the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office, held a press conference around midnight Saturday about the shooting. The full briefing can be seen here.

State Attorney General Jeff Landry released a statement Saturday morning:

Today, I join my fellow citizens in mourning the tragic death of Webster Parish Deputy and part-time Doyline Police Officer Billy Collins. Our men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line every day, and last night Officer Collins paid the ultimate price. I thank his family for his faithful service to the community and pray for God's blessing on them during this difficult time.

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