(BATON ROUGE, La.) — For veteran Louisiana State Police officer Steven Vincent, who died one day after he was shot during a traffic encounter with a “suspected impaired driver,” working as a state trooper was a “lifelong dream.”
The state police said Monday that Vincent was “the first trooper killed in a hostile encounter since the murder of Trooper Donald Cleveland near Lafayette in 1977.”
“This badge means so many different things. It’s the most precious thing on our uniform, and nobody wore this badge more proudly,” Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said.
For Vincent, 44, law enforcement was a family tradition. One of his brothers, Terrell Vincent, is a Louisiana State Police Trooper, and another brother, Keith Vincent, is Police Chief in the town of Iowa, Louisiana, police said. Vincent is survived by his wife and a 9-year-old son, police said.
Vincent became a state police trooper in 2003, fulfilling a “lifelong dream,” the police said in a statement Monday. Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff Ivy Woods, who said he supervised Vincent for about one year, called him “a very dedicated trooper.”
“When he went to work for 12 hours, he really worked for 12 hours,” Woods told ABC News.
“His career was distinguished and his service had repeatedly been recognized,” the state police said in a news release on Monday. “During his 12 years of service he received thirteen awards and commendations including the department’s Professional Excellence and Meritorious Service Awards as well as numerous Unit Citations for his dedicated and selfless duty throughout the state.”
Before joining the state police, Vincent served nearly 10 years with the Lake Charles Police Department, police said. He also served in the U.S. Army, police said.
Sunday afternoon, Vincent responded to a pickup truck in a ditch in Calcasieu Parish that matched “the description of a previously reported reckless vehicle,” the state police said Sunday.
“He was there first,” Edmonson said Monday of Vincent. “He sees the truck in the ditch and he radios in that he’s making the traffic stop.”
Vincent then told the driver that help was on the way to get the truck out of the ditch, Edmonson said.
Vincent “did everything right,” Edmonson said.
The truck driver, armed with a shotgun, then fired at Vincent, hitting him in the head, police said.
Vincent died Monday morning. His organs have been donated, Edmonton said.
“He lived a tremendously enriched life, in his faith and in his family. And that’s what a Louisiana State Trooper is all about,” Edmonson said.
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