POSTED: Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 7:00pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 7:04pm
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WDSU) — New Orleans police said the man killed in an officer-involved shooting in Gentilly was unarmed. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is calling for a full and open investigation into the matter.
The shooting happened about 6 p.m. Wednesday in the 2600 block of Prentiss Avenue.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Wendell Allen, 20, was unarmed.
Serpas said in a news conference on Thursday that an officer heard a single gunshot on the second floor of a home in the 2600 block of Prentiss Avenue. The home was being searched for drugs, Serpas said.
Allen was shot in the chest and later died from his injuries.
Serpas said law enforcement has been doing surveillance on the home where the shooting happened over the past few days, and officers saw multiple drug transactions there.
Serpas said that five officers burst through the door of the home after no one responded to police announcing their presence. Serpas said the officers were executing a search warrant for drugs.
"While some officers moved upstairs, a single gunshot was heard," Serpas said. "20-year-old Wendell Allen was fatally wounded on the second floor stair-landing."
Allen was unarmed, Serpas said, and officers recovered a handgun in the home. Officers also found scales, 138 grams of marijuana in addition to a pound of marijuana found earlier in the day.
"We still have many questions to answer," Serpas said. "We do not believe at this time that Allen had a weapon at the top of the stairs last night in his possession."
"It's a set of circumstances that are tragic no matter which way you cut them," Landrieu said on Thursday. "Every time a mother loses a child it is an unspeakable event. ... My heart goes out to the family."
Family members said the shooting happened at Allen's mother's home that was full of young children.
The entire family was overwhelmed with grief, saying that police held them back as investigators pieced together what happened.
Share "I had an opportunity to meet with his mother, grandmother and aunt this morning to hear about their grief and their pain and their side of the story," Landrieu said. "We had a really good talk."
Landrieu said he told Serpas that he wanted a full and open investigation.
"It's a very very difficult time for the city of New Orleans. It has been for some time. Not everybody is at fault, but all of us are responsible," Landrieu said.