MANDEVILLE, LA — A Mandeville police officer who was shot and killed during a car chase this afternoon has been identified as Captain Vincent “Vinny” Liberto.
Liberto was one of the officers who was initially involved in the car chase that began in the Old Mandeville area and ended near the intersection of Hwy 190 and Hwy 22.
Liberto and another officer were shot. Liberto died at the scene. The other officer’s injuries were less severe, and he was treated at nearby Lakeview Regional Medical Center which has a level one trauma center.
Two suspects were arrested, but not without an additional chase on foot. At least one of the suspects ran into the nearby Beau Chene neighborhood where some golfers reported hearing the gunshots.
Neighbors who saw the man say he had removed his shirt and wrapped it around what they believed to be a handgun. According to one man, the suspect even told a neighbor in one front yard that he was thirsty and asked for water.
The suspect continued to run through the neighborhood. Moments later, he was cornered by police and arrested along Highway 22.
The footprint of the investigation stretched for perhaps half of a mile down Hwy 190 and west from the intersection with Hwy 22. Officers with the Mandeville PD were assisted by the Causeway Police Department, Louisiana State Police, the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office, and federal ATF agents with the search for the suspects and evidence along the extended chase path.
Liberto was a graduate of Brother Martin High School and served in the United States Marine Corps for more than a decade. He joined the Mandeville Police Department in 1994.
Prior to the chase on Friday, Liberto attended the Mandeville Family Reunion luncheon which is an event that honors the area’s first responders. About an hour later, he was killed.
Louisiana State Police are handling the investigation into the chase and officer’s death. The two me who are in custody are believed to be the only two suspects involved. But even hours after the chase was over and arrests had been made, troopers had released few details on the events surrounding the chase.
Liberto is being remembered as one of the area’s great law enforcement officers and human beings who adored his wife, kids and grandchildren.
The same group that hosted the day’s luncheon also established a memorial fund to benefit Liberto’s family. Donations can be made at any Hancock Whitney location to the Vincent Liberto, Jr. Memorial Fund.
Captain Liberto was 58-years-old.