Home Local News KY police: Man pointed guns at cops before he was shot

KY police: Man pointed guns at cops before he was shot


Nicholasville police say Desman LaDuke, the 22-year-old who was shot and killed by an officer last week, pointed handguns at police before a cop shot him.

In a statement from the Nicholasville Police Department, the department said its officers “made every effort” to come to a peaceful resolution before shooting LaDuke, who died at a hospital hours later.

Maj. Michael A. Fleming, assistant chief of police in Nicholasville, said in a statement Monday that the department wanted to “apprise our community of aspects of the incident” which hadn’t yet been reported.

The shooting happened Oct. 22 after police were called to LaDuke’s home for a welfare check. Kentucky State Police previously said the initial investigation indicated Nicholasville police responded to a suicidal subject on Green Street where they allegedly found LaDuke armed.

“Following prolonged and persistent attempts to negotiate with Mr. LaDuke, he appeared in the rear window of his residence pointing two handguns,” Nicholasville police said in their statement Monday. “Despite repeated pleas and orders for him to drop the weapons, he ultimately aimed both handguns at nearby officers.”

Nicholasville police said that “while it is impossible to lessen the pain and grief that Desman LaDuke’s family is enduring, we wish to assure all of those affected that our agency made every effort in the interest of achieving a peaceful resolution.”

In a statement released last week and provided to media outlets, including WLEX18, LaDuke’s family refuted initial claims made by the Nicholasville Police Department and Kentucky State Police regarding the circumstances of the shooting.

In their statement, the family alleged that they did call the police for a welfare check on LaDuke, but that the police department’s response did nothing to de-escalate the situation.

The family alleges police responded by sending a SWAT unit and nine different officers in tactical gear who surrounded LaDuke’s home and pointed assault rifles at the doors and windows.

“He was alone in his home. Nine rifles being pointed at his doors and windows by officers in tactical gear did not do anything to diffuse what was an obvious mental health crisis. A tactical shot through a window into Desman’s chest was not the solution,” the family’s statement read.

A video taken nearby showed officers with guns pointed towards a window in the home, and a shot ringing out before someone is heard screaming.

Kentucky State Police are investigating the shooting. State police told the Herald-Leader Monday that they were “committed to being transparent while ensuring the integrity of the investigation.”

State police didn’t immediately say whether bodycams were worn by officers involved or if bodycam video of the incident would be made public.

Taylor Six is the criminal justice reporter at the Herald-Leader. She was born and raised in Lexington attending Lafayette High School. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2018 with a degree in journalism. She previously worked as the government reporter for the Richmond Register.

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