A 31-year-old Black man was killed by Louisiana police on Friday night while attempting to walk away from officers following an altercation at a convenience store.
Trayford Pellerin was pronounced dead at a local hospital after being struck by officer gunfire. Investigators said Lafayette police had been called to the scene following a disturbance at a convenience store along Evangeline Thruway and encountered Pellerin, who was carrying a knife.
Pellerin was unaffected when police used tasers on him, the Louisiana State Police, which is investigating the shooting, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
Footage of part of the incident, which circulated on social media, shows Pellerin walking away from at least four officers on foot, with their guns drawn, while other officers trailed in vehicles.
After a pursuit on foot, in which Pellerin has his back to officers, he approaches the doors of a second convenience store. The officers, who are only feet away, then shoot — firing at least 10 shots as heard on video — and kill him.
A state police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the investigation is ongoing and did not provide further details. (The video below is graphic.)
“Once again, video footage has captured a horrific and deadly incident of police violence against a Black person who was brutally killed in front of our eyes,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, in a statement. “While we need to know much more about what occurred last night, we know that it began with a routine ‘disturbance’ call and cell phone video from the scene clearly shows Mr. Pellerin moving away — not towards — police officers, only to be tased and then brutally shot dead.”
The Acadiana Advocate in Lafayette reported that this is the third time a Lafayette Police Department officer shot someone in the past five weeks. LPD interim police chief Scott Morgan told the outlet that the officers involved would be placed on paid leave, pending an investigation. His department has also turned over the investigation to state police.
Pellerin’s death comes amid a national reckoning over the use of police violence against Black people. Since the May killing of George Floyd, millions have taken to the streets in protest of racial injustice and the uneven use of police force against Black people and other minorities.
Local organizers have organized a protest over Pellerin’s death on Saturday in Lafayette.
“Trayford Pellerin should be alive today,” Odoms Herbert said. “Instead, a family is mourning and a community is grieving.”