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LA – LE – West Baton Rouge deputy who shot Port Allen man had extensive gun training, hit suspect with vehicle in 2016

The West Baton Rouge deputy who fatally shot a man during a narcotics raid last month had received extensive gun safety training, earned a prestigious award for saving a state trooper’s life and is named in a lawsuit after hitting a fleeing suspect with a car and breaking his leg. Deputy Vance Matranga Jr., a nine-year veteran with the agency, was part of a narcotics team that stormed a room at the Budget 7 Motel along U.S. 190 while executing a search warrant on July 25, the Sheriff’s Office said Thursday. At some point during the operation, Matranga fired his gun and the bullet struck Josef Richardson, 38, in the back of the neck. Richardson died at the scene after a bullet severed an area of his spinal cord and damaged the base of his skull, according to an autopsy. His family has said those findings show Richardson wasn’t a threat. They’ve called for a federal investigation and the prompt release of information about the shooting. Records show Matranga has been with the sheriff’s office since 2010. Among other duties, he’s worked as a firearms safety instructor and as a member of the Riverwest Narcotics Task Force, the unit that entered Richardson’s motel room. Training records show Matranga received use-of-force certifications in 2018 and 2016, as well as 50 hours of basic SWAT training in 2014. He’s named in a federal lawsuit stemming from a 2016 arrest of a Port Allen man who suffered a broken leg after Matranga hit him with his vehicle and tackled him as he was running away. The lawsuit alleges that authorities and medical responders didn’t treat the man for several hours after booking him into the parish jail, violating his civil rights. Matranga was also awarded with the state’s Medal of Valor award for aiding a state trooper who survived being shot in the head by a fleeing driver who wrestled the driver’s gun away from him.  [full article]

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