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Authorities: Deputy hurt, shooter dead in Louisiana standoff

July 26, 2019

VIDALIA, La. (AP) — An armed robbery suspect was killed and a sheriff’s deputy was shot and wounded in a shootout Thursday in a Louisiana city near the Mississippi River, authorities said.

Concordia Parish Officer Walter Mackel was shot when he knocked at an apartment door while investigating a holdup earlier in the day at the complex in Vidalia, KNOE-TV reported. The station said that a robot was used to find the suspect.

According to a preliminary investigation, authorities encountered 21-year-old Kaleb Melton and gunfire was exchanged “during the course of the interaction,” according to a Louisiana State Police release. Melton was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mackel was taken to University Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, where officers from Pearl, Mississippi, were giving “positive updates” on his condition, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. State police described his injuries as “moderate to severe,” but said he was stable.

Earlier Thursday, the sheriff’s office reported that its deputies and officers from Vidalia and Ferriday, Louisiana, and from Natchez and Adams County, Mississippi, were “working a standoff” at an apartment in the River Meadows Apartments in Vidalia.

Neither Concordia Parish Sheriff Kenneth Hedrick nor spokesman Vernon Stevens responded immediately to an email requesting comment. Someone who answered the phone at the sheriff’s offices advised The Associated Press to call again Friday.

Vidalia, the Concordia Parish seat, is about 75 miles (125 kilometers) north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and across the Mississippi River from Natchez, Mississippi.

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