After being released from the hospital Wednesday, a federal law enforcement agent who was shot by a state trooper over the weekend was jailed on allegations he pointed a gun at the trooper during the encounter.
Authorities booked Ronald Martin, 44, on a count of aggravated assault upon a peace officer.
Bail for Martin — a civilian special agent with the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command who was on vacation in New Orleans with his wife — was set at $5,000 by Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn.
He wore a hospital gown in the mug shot taken of him at the city’s jail and did not appear at the brief bail hearing. Martin’s attorney, Elizabeth Carpenter, attended the hearing.
Carpenter contends Martin was unjustifiably shot without warning. After the hearing, she said her client was prepared to post bail and be released.
State Police said Martin was shot about 3 a.m. Sunday on the riverfront near the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. A uniformed trooper spotted Martin holding a gun equipped with a laser sight, State Police and other law enforcement sources said.
The trooper approached and repeatedly identified himself as a lawman, State Police said. But, they said, Martin then pointed the weapon at the trooper, who shot Martin with his service gun.
State Police also said Martin appeared “impaired” during the confrontation.
Carpenter counters that Martin drew a gun out of his ankle holster after he got lost on his way back to his hotel and became frightened by a group of juveniles he suspected were following him.
Carpenter said the trooper misunderstood the situation when he saw her client with a gun and fired at Martin, who she said never heard a warning.
Martin and his wife, both from Fort Knox, Kentucky, had traveled to New Orleans to board a cruise ship. The pair spent Saturday night in the French Quarter, but Martin’s wife decided to turn in early, leaving her husband to explore the city further.
Martin had stopped drinking hours before the shooting and didn’t realize it was a trooper who had shot him until investigators approached him in the hospital, Carpenter said.
State Police said there was no evidence anyone other than Martin and the trooper, who hasn’t been identified, were in the area at the time of the shooting.
The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command said the agent has been suspended from all “law enforcement duties” pending the outcome of the investigation.
Louisiana law defines aggravated assault upon a peace officer as using a weapon to make an on-duty officer reasonably fear being harmed. It can carry between one and 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
©2018 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.
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