UPDATE: (2:11 p.m.)
The following is a statement from the Zachary Fire Department regarding the killing of Deputy Chief Christopher M. Lawton:
“It is with deep regret and great sadness that the Zachary Fire Department announces the passing of Deputy Chief Christopher M. Lawton on March 12, 2018. Chief Lawton passed away while working with the Zachary Police Department on an arrest warrant.
Chief Lawton was a dedicated public servant. He served the citizens of Zachary for over twenty years. Chief Lawton became a volunteer firefighter in March of 1996. He then became a full-time firefighter with the Zachary Fire Department in March of 1998, and worked his way through the ranks. At the time of his death, Chief Lawton held the position of Deputy Chief, the second highest rank within the Zachary Fire Department. He was also an Arson Investigator for the City of Zachary. Chief Lawton served as a Zachary Police Department Reserve Officer, joining the Police Department in May 2008. Over the past 20 years, the citizens have been blessed to have a servant such as Chief Lawton. The City of Zachary Fire Department lost a brother, friend, mentor, leader and dedicated firefighter. Chief Lawton’s knowledge and persistence for excellence will be greatly missed.
During Chief Lawton’s career, he received numerous awards including: Medical Life Saves, Fire Stops, Unit and Crew Citations. In 2017, Chief Lawton became a Post Firearm Training Instructor. He was an active and founding member of the Zachary Firefighter Association, Local 4644. Chief Lawton was a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators, Zachary Police Reserves, Zachary United Methodist Church and Zachary Cross Fit.
Chief Lawton leaves behind a loving wife, Shannon, son Marshall and daughter Claire, and numerous family members. He also leaves behind a fire and police family that will miss him dearly. Please keep the Lawton family and the fire and police organizations in your prayers.
Arrangements are pending at this time.”
UPDATE: (8:13 a.m.)
EBR Coroner Dr. William “Beau” Clark confirmed that Christopher Lawton was the law enforcement officer who died last night as a result of the hit and run.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome released a statement on the passing of Lawton this morning.
Broome said, “I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of the Zachary firefighter and policeman who lost his life while bravely serving his community. I join all of East Baton Rouge Parish in expressing my gratitude for his service, and offer up prayers for his family, his fellow first responders, and to all those who knew him. Our hearts go out to the Zachary community.
In honor of our fallen first responder, I have ordered all flags be flown at half-staff through Saturday at all City-Parish buildings and grounds.”
An autopsy for Christopher Lawton has been scheduled for Wednesday.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office arrested Albert Franklin, 33 and Ashley Chaney, 30 in connection with a Monday night fatal hit and run.
Casey Rayborn Hicks, Public Information Director for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office said, Franklin will be charged with First Degree Murder, Hit and Run, Damage to Property and Fugitive from Zachary PD.
According to Hicks, Chaney will be charged with Obstruction of Justice.
Officials said, two undercover police officers were executing a drug related warrant at the Walmart on Plank Road.
Officers saw Franklin in a U-Haul and subsequently waited while keeping an eye on him.
According to officials, Franklin then drove off after officers pulled up behind him.
At some point, an officer was pinned between a U-Haul truck and grocery cart and passed away from injuries sustained in that incident.
The officer was pronounced dead at the scene.
The deceased law enforcement officer was a full time fireman and worked with the Zachary Fire Department.
Franklin and Chaney were apprehended within 20 minutes on Old Comite Drive in Baker.
UPDATE: (10:03 p.m.)
A first responder was confirmed killed in the hit and run. Officials have two suspects in custody.
ORIGINAL STORY: (8:58 p.m.)
Police have responded to reports that a pedestrian was hit by a U-haul truck at Walmart in Baker off Plank Road.
The victim was deceased when authorities arrived. Comite Drive is now shut down and a manhunt is underway for the suspects who allegedly escaped on foot.
No further information is available at this time.
We have crews in route to the scene and will bring you updates as they become available.