Thibodaux, LA – A Lafourche Parish sheriff’s deputy was killed by a fleeing suspect who rammed into his patrol car after a pursuit early Sunday morning, according to investigators.
The incident began shortly before 4 a.m. on April 2, when Houma police requested assistance with a chase on Louisiana Highway 1 near Kleinpeter Road, WVUE reported.
Houma police said they tried to pull a driver over for a traffic violation, but that he initially refused to stop.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office (LPSO) said officers and deputies pursued the suspect to Thibodaux, where he ultimately stopped his vehicle near Lafourche Crossing, WVUE reported.
The LPSO said investigators were trying to “negotiate” with the unidentified suspect when he suddenly stomped on the gas and slammed into a nearby patrol vehicle.
LPSO Sergeant Nicholas Pepper, 44, was inside the patrol car at the time of the crash, Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre said in a statement.
Sgt. Pepper was subsequently rushed to Thibodaux Regional Health System, where he succumbed to his injuries, Sheriff Webre confirmed.
1/2 RIP. Louisiana Detective Sergeant Nicholas Pepper was murdered when a stopped pursuit suspect intentionally rammed his unit while trying to escape after a brief negotiation with deputies. He is survived by his wife and three children. pic.twitter.com/aW8GpQqzNv
— Protecting the Blue (@protectingblue) April 3, 2023
The Louisiana State Police (LSP) said the suspect was apprehended and transported to a hospital with “moderate injuries,” WVUE reported.
His identity has not been released and it is unclear what charges he may be facing.
Sheriff Webre said LSP is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident.
Sgt. Pepper served the LPSO for more than 15 years.
He also previously worked for the Houma Police Department (HPD) and the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office (TPSO), Sheriff Webre said.
Sgt. Pepper dedicated nearly 24 years of his life to his law enforcement career.
He served his entire LPSO career working in the agency’s Investigations Division, where he was most recently assigned as a supervisor in adult investigations.
“He was an integral part of nearly every major criminal investigation in Lafourche Parish for more than a decade,” Sheriff Webre noted.
LODD: Always remember: Detective Sergeant Nicholas Pepper, Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana https://t.co/uMRDpCpDc5 pic.twitter.com/BZF6dlxBJZ
— Blue Lives Matter 💎 (@RetiredNYCPD) April 3, 2023
“Nick epitomized all that is honored and revered in a peace officer,” the sheriff wrote. “The tremendous outpouring of love and gratitude from the community is truly appreciated. I ask that you continue to keep Sergeant Nick Pepper and his family, as well as our Sheriff’s Office family, in your thoughts and prayers.”
Sgt. Pepper leaves behind his wife, Christie, who is a LPSO employee serving the Lafourche Parish District Attorney’s Office as an investigator, according to Sheriff Webre.
He is also survived by his three children, Nicholas Jr., Gracie, and Patience.
“We are all processing and grieving this horrific and tragic death of one or our own,” Sheriff Webre said, according to WVUE. “We are with the family, providing them with support and prayers at this unbelievably difficult time. We ask for the community’s love, prayers and support as well.”