NOPD officer dies from wounds sustained in 2020 ambush; DA looks at new charges
Officer Trevor Abney was ambushed and shot below the left eye, leaving him blinded in that eye and with a .40-caliber bullet lodged in his brain
Duty Death: Trevor Abney - [New Orleans, Louisiana]
End of Service: 04/09/2023
By Missy Wilkinson
The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate
NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans police officer shot in the head in the line of duty more than two years ago died Sunday from that injury, the St. Tammany Parish coroner confirmed.
Trevor Abney, 34, died Sunday night in his Slidell-area home of complications from the cerebral gunshot wound. For more than two years, the decorated police officer, firefighter, Army veteran, husband and father lived with a .40-caliber, full metal jacket bullet lodged in his brain.
"That's not just pure luck," Abney told WWL-TV in 2021. "For it to wiggle its way around all that and not cause massive hemorrhaging, there's something else going on there. So I've definitely been doing a lot more praying that I did before."
Abney was one of two officers wounded in an Oct. 30, 2020 ambush by a French Quarter pedicab passenger. He and fellow NOPD officer Brooke Duncan IV were driving a police cruiser on St. Philip Street near Royal Street when Donnell Linwood Hassell, 47, a visitor to New Orleans, opened fire with a .40-caliber handgun, seemingly without provocation.
Duncan sustained cuts to his arm when the cruiser's windshield shattered, and Abney was shot below his left eye. Though the bullet remained lodged in his brain and blinded him in that eye, Abney was discharged from the hospital five days after sustaining the life-threatening injury.
The alleged shooter
Police apprehended Hassell after a foot chase through the French Quarter and booked him on two counts of attempted murder of a police officer. Bond was set at $1.5 million. Hassell, a military veteran from Georgia, entered a dual plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity last September. His attorney, Stephen Hebert, had no comment on the pending trial.
District Attorney Jason Williams said Monday he is "absolutely" considering new charges against Hassell now that Abney's death has been deemed a homicide.
Donovan Livaccari, a spokesman for the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge, expressed his condolences. So did Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
"He was a good guy, and we search for people like him all the time to fill the positions and needs," Livaccari said. "We as a community need Trevor Abney, and it's a shame we don't have him any more."
Abney, who lived in Slidell and attended Northshore High School, was an Iraq War veteran who worked with St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 11. He joined the NOPD as a recruit in 2015 and worked in its 8th District, an area that includes the French Quarter and surrounding areas, where he served with distinction until he was wounded, according to a statement from NOPD interim police superintendent Michelle Woodfork.
"During his eight years with the department, Officer Abney received a commendation for exemplary performance in the line of duty that saved the life of a citizen as well as the Purple Heart Medal for injuries received in the line of duty," she stated.
Shawn Abney, Trevor Abney's brother, said his family is reeling from the loss.
"It's tough," he said.
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