By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The New Orleans Advocate
The man accused of fatally shooting a New Orleans policeman early Friday managed to recover from being shocked with a stun gun to kill the officer moments later, according to documents released Saturday.
An arrest warrant for Darren Bridges, 30, on counts of first-degree murder and other offenses gives the most complete account yet made public about how authorities believe he gunned down 29-year-old Officer Marcus McNeil in the vicinity of the 6800 block of Cindy Place, in New Orleans East.
Bridges was later shot by one of McNeil’s colleagues, and he surrendered to authorities rather than bleed to death in his nearby apartment, the warrant says.
The warrant cites video showing McNeil was in a blue tactical uniform identifying him as a police officer when he encountered Bridges, who was carrying a backpack investigators said they later learned contained illegal drugs.
(NOPD officer shot and killed in N.O. East. Courtesy of WWLTV and YouTube. Oct. 13, 2017)
According to the warrant, the video shows a tussle broke out between McNeil and Bridges, who brandished what is described as “a unique firearm.”
McNeil and Bridges were “the only people present at the time,” according to the warrant, which seemingly conflicts with earlier accounts that gave the impression McNeil was accompanied by three colleagues when police attempted to stop Bridges.
Bridges dropped his backpack during the struggle.
At some point, the warrant says, McNeil fired his stun gun at Bridges and struck him, but the weapon “appeared ineffective,” and the fight continued.
Several gunshots then were fired, and McNeil could be heard screaming, the warrant says.
There was a pause, and then one more gunshot rang out, leaving McNeil unresponsive, with his service pistol still in his holster.
He was later taken to University Medical Center, where the medical staff pronounced him dead.
(NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison and Deputy Chief Arlinda Westbrook, who heads the department’s Public Integrity Bureau, met with media today to provide an update on the investigation into the shooting death of Officer Marcus McNeil. Courtesy of NOPD News and YouTube. Posted on Oct 13, 2017.)
Bridges then fled and crossed paths with another officer, whose name was not released.
That officer shot Bridges multiple times before Bridges entered a second-floor apartment in the 6800 block of Cindy Place, using a key.
He later surrendered to police, having bled profusely on his clothes and inside the apartment.
First responders took him to the hospital for treatment.
Police later searched the apartment and found the clothes Bridges was seen wearing in the video, the warrant says.
The probes from McNeil’s stun gun were still attached to the clothes.
Officers also found the backpack, which contained what appeared to be powder cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and several pills of the drug commonly sold as Xanax.
Bridges remained hospitalized Saturday, but he was booked remotely on counts of murder and possession of illegal weapons and drugs.
He faces mandatory life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted of murdering McNeil, who was assigned to the 7th Police District, which covers New Orleans East.
Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Magistrate Commissioner Jonathan Friedman on Saturday ordered Bridges held without bail on the murder count.
Bail for the rest of the counts added up to $375,000.
Bridges’ attorney, Capital Defense Project director Kerry Cuccia, said it was too early for him to be able to comment on his client’s case.
Bridges has an extensive criminal history dating back to at least 2004, including more than a dozen arrests and at least three guilty pleas.
Most recently in Orleans Parish, he pleaded guilty in 2012 to attempted possession of a firearm by a felon and received a prison sentence of 6½ years.
(Police Officer Marcus McNeil, end of watch October 13, 2017. Rest in peace Brother. Courtesy of Law Enforcement Today .com and YouTube)
McNeil joined the city’s police force as a recruit in 2014 and spent his entire career in the 7th District, authorities said.
His survivors include his wife and two daughters, ages 2 and 5.
All Whitney Bank branches are accepting donations for a benefit fund supporting McNeil’s family, police said.
The account is titled the “Marcus McNeil Benefit Fund.”
Editor’s note: Our condolences to the NOPD. Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family. Officer McNeil, your life mattered. Thank you for giving so much of yourself to keep our community safe. May you rest in peace Sir.