BATON ROUGE, La. — A Louisiana district attorney said he won't prosecute a man on accusations of shooting at a police officer while fleeing a traffic stop, saying there's no evidence he had a weapon.
An investigation continues, with possible consequences for the officer who did shoot at 21-year-old Raheem Howard and accused him of firing first.
The Advocate of Baton Rouge reports that District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Tuesday that he dropped an attempted murder charge against Howard, whose car was missing a license plate.
"At this point, I didn't think there was sufficient evidence," Moore said. "That doesn't mean there will be no charges stemming from this case."
Witnesses reported hearing only one gunshot as Baton Rouge Officer Yuseff Hamadeh fired at Howard.
Howard acknowledged fleeing from the traffic stop, but said he never had a gun.
Last year, Hamadeh fatally shot a man accused of pointing a weapon at officers during a traffic stop. Neither shooting was recorded on Hamadeh's body camera.
Moore said he reviewed the available footage from the incident involving Howard, as well as witness statements and physical evidence.
He said police do not have clear evidence a second shot was fired, even after an exhaustive search of backyards in the area using metal detectors. No shell casings — except from the officer's weapon — were found, no bullet holes were discovered and a gun hasn't been recovered.
Moore said every person interviewed by investigators, except for Hamadeh, said only one shot was fired.
"I cannot say there was or was not more than one shot fired," Moore said. "Everyone else seems to indicate one shot was all they heard."
Moore said Howard remains detained for bench warrants from prior, unrelated cases.