An investigation into a murder resulted in two unidentified Baton Rouge officers being shot by the suspect they intended to interview. One officer is in critical condition, while one died at the scene.
The officer who was killed was shot multiple times, at close range, and possibly even by contact. The hospitalized officer remains in critical condition.
Police believe Ronnie Kato, 36, shot and killed his girlfriend’s stepfather Sunday morning at the victim’s home during a domestic argument. Kato was reportedly arguing with his girlfriend, outside, and she eventually went inside to get away from Kato. He followed her, and kicked in the door as she tried to shut him out. Once inside, his girlfriend hid from him, and Kato began firing a gun inside the house as she remained hidden. The girlfriend came out of hiding after she felt Kato had left, and found that her stepfather, 58 year old, Curtis Richardson, had been shot and killed by Kato. Reports also state that she was struck in the head with a pistol by Kato during the argument.
Officers later went to a location where they was believed Kato was hiding; it was at this location where the officers were shot.
The officers who were shot had gone to the backyard of the home to make sure Kato didn’t try to flee out the back, while other officers knocked on the front door to make contact with him. At this point, officers didn’t have an arrest warrant, but were attempting to speak to Kato consensually.
It’s reported that Kato was armed with an ‘assault type weapon’ , and that he immediately fired upon the two officers when he saw them enter the yard. Further, due to the wounds observed on the deceased officer, it appears that he stood over him, and shot him several times while he was down on the ground.
A probable cause affidavit obtained by the Baton Rouge Advocate stated in part “As they approached the backyard Kato opened fire with an assault style rifle striking both officers,” “Evidence on scene indicated that the suspect stood over the deceased officer and shot him multiple times. … Several of the wounds appeared to be close contact.”
After shooting the two officers, Kato fled on foot and eventually barricaded himself inside a house. Kato surrendered after a long standoff, and was arrested without incident, he is being held without bond.
Kato had previous arrests, however he had no violent arrest history; he was the subject of an earlier police call where he was reportedly intoxicated, and threatening to the girlfriend who he assaulted in this offenses, but no charges were filed against him.
Baton Rouge is the capitol of Louisiana, and has a population of about 230,000. The officer killed in this offense is the 22nd Baton Rouge officer to be killed in the line of duty.