Louisiana shooting, carjacking suspect arrested in Meridian
Taniel Cole was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon after crashing on I-20/59
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -The Meridian Police Department and Mississippi Highway Patrol arrested a man they say was involved in a shooting and carjacking at a Shreveport, Louisiana, hospital.
Officers took 41-year old Taniel Cole into custody after he crashed on Interstate 20/59 just east of Exit 157 about 9 miles from the Mississippi-Alabama state line.
Newscenter 11′s Tom Williams is working on this developing story.
ORIGINAL STORY FROM KSLA IN SHERVEPORT:
Authorities are now searching statewide for Taniel Cole, accused of shooting someone at a Shreveport hospital.
According to Shreveport police, a thorough search of the Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport - St. Mary Medical Center is complete.
Crews with ATF, FBI, U.S. Marshals, Louisiana State Police and several sheriff’s departments assisted in the search of the hospital. A large presence is still on scene.
Cole is 5′4″ and is of a slender build. His last known address is in Farmerville. He was described as wearing blue jeans, a muscle type shirt and a jacket. Police say he is wanted in connection to an attempted-second degree murder.
“As of right now, I can tell you that he is not in this building,” said Shreveport Police Spokeswoman Sgt. Angie Willhite. “We have had multiple search teams this building. Basement to roof including hall spaces and attics. That’s what took so long to do. This man is not in this building.”
Sgt. Willhite said that it is possible that Cole is still in the area. Efforts are being made to search the area south and east of the hospital.
“We can’t confirm that he’s left this area,” she said. “We can just confirm that he has left this building.”
She also said that he has connections to south Louisiana.
Below is a statement from the hospital:
“Today was difficult for the staff, patients and visitors at Ochsner LSU Health St. Mary Medical Center as we responded to a shooting this morning. We immediately followed our emergency and safety protocols, which included locking down the facility. One person was injured with a non-life-threatening condition. We received confirmation from the Shreveport Police Department that the perpetrator is no longer on our campus and out of the area. There is currently no danger to the staff and the hospital is resuming normal operations.The safety and well-being of our employees, patients and visitors are our first priority. We take security very seriously and are vigilant about keeping our campus, employees, patients and visitors safe. We would like to thank our employees who acted swiftly in a challenging and stressful situation. We are providing dedicated crisis intervention, pastoral care and licensed social workers to support our staff at this time.We are unable to comment further as we are working with the proper authorities during this investigation and giving them our complete cooperation.”Ochsner LSU Health
Officers received the call just after 5:30 a.m. to the hospital. That’s the former Christus Schumpert campus.
According to Shreveport Police Department’s Sgt. Angie Willhite, Cole shot one man in the leg. That person has non-life-threatening injuries. Investigators are working to determine if Cole knew the victim.
Police are searched for the gunman throughout the hospital campus. Hostage negotiators were dispatched to the scene. Deputies and crews with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office are assisting at the scene. Authorities treated the incident as an active shooter incident.
“The suspect made threats to kill any law enforcement officer or any others who tried to stop him today,” Sgt. Willhite said. “Our SWAT team, hostage negotiator team is in there actively searching every nook and cranny of St. Mary’s Hospital.”
However, Sgt. Willhite said that he may have left the facility on foot or by vehicle. Police are working to find him.
Residents in the Highland area are asked to stay inside their homes. If Cole is spotted, they are asked to contact police. He is considered armed and dangerous.
Sgt. Willhite added that any women in labor or going into labor will need to go to Oshner LSU Health Shreveport Medical Center. St. Mary Medical Center is not seeing anyone at this time.
Loyola College Prep, a school that is a block over from the hospital has canceled classes for the day, according to their Facebook page. St. John Berchmans Catholic School has closed as well.
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