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2 officers killed in La. police helicopter crash identified

While assisting on a pursuit, the helicopter’s tail rotor hit a tree, causing it to crash upside down


Sergeant David Poirrier (left) and Corporal Scotty Canezaro (right).

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Duty Death: David Poirrier and Scotty Canezaro - [Baton Rouge]

End of Service: 26/03/2023

By Paul Cobler
The Advocate

BATON ROUGE, La. — The crashed Baton Rouge Police Department helicopter and bodies of two officers were discovered by law enforcement only after a family member of one of the victims called to request a search roughly eight hours after the incident occurred, according to the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s deputies searched a rural area between North Winterville Road and Bueche Road after receiving the call at 10:48 a.m. Sunday and discovered the crashed helicopter and two deceased officers, according to a news release. Soon after the discovery, BRPD was notified, the WBRSO release says.

Sgt. David Poirrier, 47, and Cpl. Scotty Canezaro, 38, were killed after the helicopter’s tail rotor hit a tree, causing it to crash upside down around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, according to a preliminary FAA report. BRPD said the helicopter was assisting with a pursuit.

BRPD spokesman L’Jean McKneely Jr. acknowledged the delay Monday evening and said BRPD is investigating why it occurred.

“That’s all part of the investigation,” McKneely said. “We’re working with the Baton Rouge airport, the FAA, we’re checking different things out to see why there was such a lapse in time.”

The man who was fleeing from officers in the lead up to the crash has been arrested and booked on charges related to their deaths, according to the WBR sheriff’s office.

Deandre Bessye, a 23-year-old from Baton Rouge, was booked in the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail on two counts of manslaughter, one count of aggravated flight from an officer and one count of obstruction of a highway of commerce, according to the news release.

BRPD officers were pursuing Bessye, who was driving a 2014 Ford Mustang, when the chase crossed into West Baton Rouge Parish on Interstate 10 around 2:27 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office. The chase, which reached speeds of 135 mph, was terminated by BRPD near the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 190 and Bueche Road, according to the sheriff’s office.

Bessye was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Task Force on Sunday afternoon, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman.

Bessye will also be booked in East Baton Rouge Parish on one count of hit and run and one count of aggravated flight from an officer, according a BRPD spokesman.

Staff writer Rebecca Holland contributed to this report.

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