SHREVEPORT, La. — (CBS) - The Shreveport police officer killed in a shooting Wednesday night was a mother, former track star, and a rookie officer who had been on the job less than two months.
Chatéri Payne, 22, was preparing to go on shift when she was shot multiple times, according to Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond.
The shooting happened just before 8:30 p.m. on Midway Avenue in Shreveport’s Caddo Heights neighborhood. Chief Raymond says police are still searching for the suspect.
Payne graduated from the Shreveport Police and Fire Training Academy in November, fulfilling her dream of becoming a police officer.
“Long days, aching nights, but I decided to stand tall on my dream," reads a post Payne made on her Facebook page following her graduation. “It is an honor to be able to join such a powerful family with my brothers and sisters in blue. May the journey begin.”
Chief Raymond called Officer Payne’s killing a “senseless, tragic death,” and said they were working tirelessly to find her killer. Raymond said her fellow academy classmates spoke highly of her and joined him at the hospital where Payne was being treated.
Payne, who leaves behind a young child, is a Shreveport native and graduate of Captain Shreve High School where she ran track as a member of the relay team.
Marita Hunt was Payne’s track coach at Captain Shreve. She says Payne excelled on and off the field.
“She was a good athlete, but a great person. She was a leader on the track team and was like a daughter to me," said Hunt.
Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins, who was on the scene of the shooting Wednesday night, released a statement Thursday.
“Sadly, Shreveport wakes up painfully aware of the sacrifices police officers make every day,” said Mayor Perkins. “Police officers are human beings just like the rest of us. Behind the badge is a beating heart—a father, mother, son, daughter, brother, and sister. When they put the uniform on, they put all that on the line.”
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Sen. John Kennedy both tweeted their condolences Thursday.
“This is a tragic loss not only for the Shreveport community, but for all of us who rely on police officers to keep us safe,” wrote Edwards.
“The community of Shreveport has lost one of its finest. As a guardian of her community, Officer Chateri Payne was dedicated to the people she served. Today Louisiana is mourning the loss of a hero,” tweeted Kennedy.
Law enforcement agencies from around the region are also showing support for the Shreveport Police Department and Officer Payne.
“The loss of any life is a tragedy and the law enforcement family goes beyond counties and state lines,” said the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department in a Facebook post. “TAPD asks for your prayers for Shreveport Police Department and the family of Officer Chateri Payne.”
The shooting remains under investigation at this time.
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