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Hero Down: Denham Springs Police Cpl. Shawn Kelly Dies 3 Weeks After Being Shot In Line Of Duty

Denham Springs, LA – Denham Springs Police Department (DSPD) Corporal Shawn Kelly died in the line of duty on June 2, more than three weeks after he was shot multiple times while responding to a disturbance outside a local shopping center.

The attack occurred at the Spring Park Plaza on South Range Avenue at approximately 4:20 p.m. on May 11, WWL reported.

The shopping center, which is among the busiest sections of town, includes an Office Depot and a Petco, as well as many other stores, according to The Advocate.

DSPD Chief Rodney Walker said officers responded to the parking lot of the retail center after receiving reports of a dispute between a man and a woman outside the Petco.

Investigators later said the two individuals who were arguing did not know one another, The Advocate reported.

According to DSPD Sergeant Scott Sterling, Cpl. Kelly was assigned to the traffic unit and was not expected to respond to the call, but he offered to help out when he noticed the officers responsible for handling the situation were tied up with another matter, according to The Advocate.

When he and another officer arrived at the scene, a male suspect opened fire on them, according to Chief Walker.

“We returned fire, and one of my guys was hit,” the police chief said, according to The Livingston Parish News.

He confirmed Cpl. Kelly was struck “multiple times” during the attack.

A video posted to social media showed three officers rushing to Cpl. Kelly’s aid in the wake of the shooting, The Advocate reported.

They performed chest compressions and worked frantically to save him before he was rushed to a local hospital.

The gunman fired off more rounds after shooting Cpl. Kelly, then sped away northbound on Range Avenue, according to police.

As the suspect reached U.S. Highway 190, he was intercepted by Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office (LPSO) deputies, The Livingston Parish News reported.

Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said the suspect came out of the vehicle “with a gun,” at which point deputies fired at him.

The gunman was wounded and was subsequently transported to the hospital.

He was later identified as 30-year-old Justin Roberts, WBRZ reported.

The LPSO confirmed Roberts died from his wounds at the hospital later that night, according to The Advocate.

Roberts was also allegedly involved in two other road rage incidents that occurred nearby just minutes prior to shooting Cpl. Kelly, according to police.

Cpl. Kelly remained hospitalized in critical condition until his death on June 2, The Advocate reported.

The DSPD said he died while “surrounded by his family, friends, and members of the DSPD.”

Cpl. Kelly dedicated 29 years of his life to his law enforcement career – the last four of which he spent at the DSPD, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

He began serving with the Louisiana Department of Corrections and various other state offices in 1994 before earning his P.O.S.T. certification at the Louisiana State Police Training Academy in 1997, WAFB reported.

Sgt. Sterling said the beloved corporal received “multiple commendations for his generous ways and positive attitude” during his years of service, according to The Advocate.

Cpl. Kelly was also a field training officer and Taser instructor, WAFB reported.

“On May 11th, 2023, evil and tragedy struck our community and because of it, we will forever be changed,” Chief Walker said in a statement to The Livingston Parish News. “Cpl. Shawn Kelly was a great public servant, a great father, grandfather, husband and just a great human being.”

“He was… one of the finest men I’ve ever known,” the police chief continued. “The Denham Springs and Livingston Parish communities have truly lost one of its finest. On behalf of Cpl. Kelly’s family and his DSPD family, we thank you for your continued love, support and prayers during this difficult and tragic time.”

Sheriff Ard said he will remember Cpl. Kelly as a hero, WAFB reported.

“He died doing what he loved to do – serving & protecting his community. In addition to that, he brought our Livingston Parish community together reminding us that we are in this together, that we need to continue working together & that – together – we can do great things,” the sheriff said. “My heart is full for Cpl. Kelly’s family, for our DSPD partners, for those who knew & loved Shawn & for all of Livingston Parish. We will continue to do what is needed to support Shawn’s family & his DSPD family.”

Cpl. Kelly leaves behind his wife, as well as his children and grandchildren, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Denham Springs Police Department Corporal Shawn Kelly, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Corporal Shawn Kelly, your life mattered.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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