Aug 6, 2015 7:07 PM

Police say suspect in custody in Louisiana officer's death

The Associated Press

A man accused of killing a Shreveport police officer was arrested Thursday after a round-the-clock manhunt, police said.

Grover Cannon, 27, was in a backyard detached garage not far from the house where Officer Thomas LaValley was killed Wednesday when officers acting on a tip arrested him shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, Shreveport police spokesman Cpl. Marcus Hines said.

"He was sitting in the back of the garage, just hanging out. ... He may have been consuming a hard beverage. I'm not sure what it was," Hines said.

He said Cannon was taken into custody without incident.

The capture was the result of efforts by the FBI, the Shreveport Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office and Louisiana State Police. The FBI offered a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to Cannon's arrest.

LaValley, 29, was shot multiple times about 9 p.m. Wednesday while answering a call about a suspicious person at a home in the city's Queensborough neighborhood.

Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw said neighbors told the officer that the man inside the home was wanted. The officer didn't know the man was armed, and he went inside and was shot, Shaw said.

Police already had a warrant for Cannon's arrest on a charge of attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of Darren Williams on July 15.

"Long story short, he gets into an argument with one guy, pumps him full of led and runs off," Hines said.

A four-year member of the force, LaValley began working as a lawman after more than three years as a television news photographer. Shaw described LaValley as the top graduate in his police academy class and a hero who will never be forgotten.

"He was doing what he loved," Shaw said. "He did not hesitate to confront a bad person."

Casey Habich said he and other friends were sure LaValley went into the house thinking he was going to help someone. "That's what he went to do," Habich said.

He described LaValley as "just a good old south Louisiana boy who wants to drink and watch the Saints play on Sunday and lose his shoes" and a man who would help anyone, any time.

LaValley was originally from St. Amant, southeast of Baton Rouge, and joined a television station after graduating from Northwestern State University with a major in biology and a minor in journalism, Habich said.

Habich, who was a news photographer for the station when LaValley was hired, said he thought working the night crime beat, "running with first responders every night," made LaValley decide he wanted to become a police officer.

"It was just in his nature to take care of people," he said.

He also loved his state, often saying he'd never leave Louisiana. And though he often griped good-naturedly about his cat named Drew, after New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees LaValley paid $1,200 to get it through an infection, Habich said.

Shaw said LaValley came to his office while working at the television station and said he'd applied for a job but had not been hired.

"I told him to apply again, and if he qualified, he would be hired."

LaValley didn't believe him, Shaw said, but he assured LaValley that he would be hired if he met the requirements.

Police said a memorial service honoring LaValley will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at Summer Grove Baptist Church in Shreveport, with visitation afterward.


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