A 31-year-old man killed by a New Orleans police officer Sunday morning in Hollygrove was hit by four bullets — two on the arm, one on the ankle and one on his torso — and only the shot to the torso was considered a life-threatening injury, according to coroner’s findings released by the NOPD.
Keith Atkinson was standing up when he was shot and the bullets were fired “from a distance, rather than from at close range,” the coroner’s investigator John Gagliano said in a NOPD news release on Monday afternoon. The gun found next to him was determined to have been stolen from Baton Rouge, the release states.
Meanwhile, the officer who shot Atkinson, Jonathan Hirdes, has been placed on desk duty during the investigation. What caused Hirdes to fire on Atkinson remains under investigation, the release states.
See the full NOPD news release below:
Today the Orleans Coroner’s Office performed the autopsy on the man fatally wounded in yesterday’s officer-involved shooting in Hollygrove. The deceased has been identified as 31-year-old Keith Atkinson. The officer involved is Jonathan Hirdes.
Chief Investigator for the Coroner’s Office, John Gagliano, said Atkinson was wounded a total of four times yesterday while he was in an upright position, and that each bullet was shot from a distance, rather than from at close range. Gagliano went on to say that Atkinson was shot once on the side of the torso, twice on his right arm and once on his right ankle. He said the only fatal wound was the one that entered the side of the torso. All others were non-life threatening.
Officer Hirdes responded to a 9-1-1 call of a shoplifting yesterday morning from a store in the 8600-block of Belfast Street. Through investigation, detectives are determining what led to Officer Hirdes fatally wounding Atkinson, who was across the street from the location. A .45 caliber gun was found lying next to Atkinson’s body.
A serial number check on the gun shows it had been stolen from Baton Rouge in May of last year. Louisiana State Police forensics experts are currently running tests on it. The officer’s gun was also confiscated and is now undergoing ballistics testing.
Public Integrity Bureau (PIB) detectives continue to conduct interviews and collect information on the shooting. FBI agents who work in PIB’s offices are assisting with the investigation. Detectives encourage anyone with information about the shooting to call the Force Investigation Team at 504-658-6800 or CrimeStoppers at 504-822-1111.
While the investigation continues, Officer Hirdes, who’s been with the department for 8 years, has been reassigned to desk duty.
Lil Wayne, the platinum-certified Grammy-winning rapper from Hollygrove, said on Twitter that he was friends with Atkinson and had even seen him the day before, according to Naomi Martin at nola.com.