“Don’t make us shoot you again.” Bodycam shows moments before man was killed by Kentucky cop
Nicholasville police officers who showed up at the home of a 22-year-old Black man and eventually shot him left him wounded for several minutes before entering his home to administer first aid, according to body camera footage obtained by the Herald-Leader through the Kentucky Open Records Act.
Desman LaDuke, whose family says was having a mental health crisis when police came to his home, was shot once in the chest by an officer and later died. His family said that the police did not need to respond to the situation by shooting him, and Police said LaDuke was holding weapons on police from inside his home When they shot him on October 22, 2022.
The body camera footage was not made available until recently, with KSP previously saying the records were exempt from the public records law while the case was still under investigation. The investigation ended when the grand jury declined to indict the officer who shot LaDuke.
The body camera footage does not provide further information about whether LaDuke pulled weapons on police, as Kentucky State Police edited the video — the portion of the video in which police shot LaDuke and entered his home has been deleted, and only audio is provided for that portion. KSP told the Herald-Leader that showing the interior of LaDuke’s home in the video is a violation of state law. In the edited video, an unidentified officer can be heard asking LaDuke why he was pointing his weapons at police.
The redacted video indicates that police waited about six minutes between shooting LaDuke and entering his home.
The officer who shot LaDuke did not have body camera video from the incident. The footage provided was from another responding officer. There was a large police presence at the scene, and it is not clear who some of the officers are in the footage and audio recordings provided by state police.
LaDuke was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital in Lexington where he later died. His autopsy indicated that the manner of death was homicide.
LaDuke doesn’t want the police in his house
Police were called to the scene to conduct a welfare check, which was conducted by LaDuke’s aunt and former legal guardian, Melissa Marks. According to interviews with police, LaDuke became agitated and made threats to himself after an argument with his girlfriend. When officers arrived, they made multiple attempts and asked LaDuke to come out of the home and speak with officers, but he refused.
LaDuke can be heard on the body camera video telling the officer, “I don’t have anything to say” and “I don’t have anything to talk about.”
“I didn’t call you all here,” LaDuke said. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
An officer responded: “It doesn’t matter who calls, if someone needs help we will try to help.” At that time, the footage revealed that the officer said LaDuke did not have weapons in his hands.
Officers were seen and heard on camera outside LaDuke’s home saying, “I say we just break that damn window and shoot him.”
Another policeman answers: “This is what I am talking about.” This—works.” Officers were instructed to prepare gas masks.
Sam Wade, public information officer for the Nicholasville Police Department, had not responded to multiple requests for comment as of Thursday afternoon.
Nearly two hours after police initially showed up, the response changed from a few uniformed officers to critical response officers armed with rifles surrounding the home. The police had closed the street.
In the body camera video, an officer asks LaDuke to drop his weapon and repeatedly tells him to come out of his home to speak with officers. Eventually, a single shot rang out, striking LaDuke in the chest. While this portion of the video has been redacted, officers can be heard breaking glass and reporting seeing blood in the doorway of LaDuke’s home. They said LaDuke fell to the ground with his feet visible, and a gun was on the ground next to the back window.
Police repeatedly shouted at LaDuke, telling him not to move. One of the officers can be heard shouting, “Don’t make us shoot you again.”
The police were eventually able to get to his house with a battering ram. One of the officers shouted at him: “Why did you do that? Why did you keep pointing guns at us? We did nothing but try to help you for hours. Why did you force them to do that?”
After the shooting, police began their investigation. They cordoned off the area, searched for bullet casings and spoke with other officers about the incident. Some officers tried to control a large crowd gathered.
The shooter was interviewed for 80 minutes, but was not charged
Horton volunteered an interview with KSP Sgt. Chris Marcum four days after the shooting, on Oct. 26, according to audio obtained through an open records request. Horton’s representative, Scott Crosby, attended the interview, which lasted about an hour and 20 minutes. Horton was questioned about his training, details of his weapons, and what happened on the day of the shooting.
He told the investigator he was carrying a Colt M4 Carbine AR pistol and a department-issued Glock Gen5 9mm pistol when he arrived at the scene. He said he was not wearing any body-worn camera equipment at the time. He is one of nine officers on the department’s Special Response Team.
Horton told the detective that he arrived at the scene to receive a call from a suicidal person holed up. He took his position with the others at the back of the house. He said he saw LaDuke peer through the curtains, yell “shoot me” at the officers, and close the curtains again.
The officers continued to tell LaDuke, “No one was in trouble, no one was going to hurt him, and they just wanted him to cooperate and work together to get the help he needed, according to Horton.
No one has been successful in making “positive contact” with LaDuke, he said.
Moments later, Horton said he noticed LaDuke was holding weapons when he opened the curtains again. He called out other officers who responded by giving verbal commands to LaDuke.
““The subject’s behavior has deteriorated,” Horton said in the interview. “He went from dancing in a sarcastic gesture to raising firearms up and tapping them on the glass with officers in the line of fire.”
Horton noted that LaDuke pointed his guns at the officers several times.
““At that moment I identified him as an imminent danger to my fellow officers and myself and as a direct threat,” Horton said. “I fired one shot into the window to stop this threat.”
He told Marcum he did not shoot again because he knew LaDuke was down and no longer posed a threat to the officers. Horton was immediately escorted from the scene and asked to surrender his firearm.
Lt. Jason Fradosio, who led the tactical team, told investigators during an interview that he felt threatened by LaDuke’s actions: “He now pointed both (guns) at me, stopped, and I immediately said, ‘Oh f—, he’s going to shoot me.’ As if he’s going to kill me—–.
As soon as he pulled the trigger, a shot went off and he realized it wasn’t his, Fradosio said.
“I was so committed that I thought it was mine because the bullet went exactly where it was, and I was looking at this guy who was about to shoot me, both guns, both in front of me, both visible, clear as day,” Fradosio said.
“That’s the most clearly seen on the front of the gun that I really thought, ‘I’ve been shot.’
KSP interviewed eleven officers, according to documents obtained through open records. All who witnessed the shooting said LaDuke was taunting police, repeatedly carrying a weapon and ignoring pleas from officers to come out and talk to them.
Horton was not publicly identified as the shooter until November 15, 2022. At that time, Kentucky State Police said Horton was placed on administrative leave in accordance with Nicholasville Police Department policies and procedures. It is not clear whether Horton returned to his normal duties after the investigation concluded.
“Despite repeated loud verbal commands by the officers to drop the weapons, Mr. LaDuke directed the firearms in the direction of the officers. “Officer Joseph Horton recognized the immediate danger and fired his agency-issued firearm, striking Mr. LaDuke once,” State Police said in an earlier news release.
Jessamine County The grand jury declined to indict Horton on any criminal charges in August 2023. According to the grand jury report included in the KSP investigation, Marcum was the only witness to testify before the grand jury. It is unclear if there is any body camera footage Or passerby shots It was presented to the jury.
Horton’s attorney, Scott Miller, previously told the Herald-Leader that the shooting was “tragic,” but said Horton’s actions followed nationally recognized police guidelines.