Denham Springs Police Cpl. Kelly removed from life support after he was shot in the line of duty

DENHAM SPRINGS – Denham Springs Police Corporal Shawn Kelly, who was shot in the neck while responding to a call more than three weeks ago, has died of his injuries, the department announced.

He had been on life support the last few weeks as his family and many in the community were praying he would make a recovery. Today though, June 2, his wife made the difficult decision and Cpl. Kelly passed around 4pm.

“On May 11th, 2023 evil and tragedy struck our community and because of it, we will forever be changed. Cpl. Shawn Kelly was a great public servant, a great father, grandfather, husband and just a great human being. He was one of the finest men I’ve ever known. The Denham Springs & Livingston Parish communities have truly lost one of its finest. On behalf of Cpl. Kelly’s family and his DSPD family, we thank you for your continued love, support and prayers during this difficult and tragic time.

Denham Springs Police Chief Rodney Walker

‘Lifetime Public Servant’

Kelly began his law enforcement career in 1994 when he joined the Louisiana Department of Corrections. He earned his post certification in 1997 at the Louisiana State Police training academy.

Kelly moved to other state agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, before joining the Denham Springs Police Department in 2019. The officer was a taser instructor, field training officer and motor officer with DSPD.

He received multiple commendations for his “generous ways and positive attitude as a law enforcement officer,” DSPD said.

“Corporal Shawn Kelly is a lifetime public servant and is the type of officer who wants to respond to every call and help every person he can reach,” DSPD Sgt. Scott Sterling said.

Thursday, May 11

Cpl. Shawn Kelly was called to the parking lot of the Petco in the Spring Park Plaza shopping center in Denham Springs about an argument between a man and a woman. The man, identified by the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office as 30-year-old Justin Roberts, matched the description of a man involved in other erratic calls to police.

According to investigators, Roberts allegedly was involved in a road rage incident where he followed a woman from the Petco parking lot to her residence nearby in Denham Springs. Roberts left after the woman closed her garage door, but roughly 15 minutes later, Roberts was reportedly yelling and threatening a patron at the nearby Sports Clips.

Just over 10 minutes after that 911 call, police were dispatched to the Petco where a man said to be Roberts was shouting at a woman. She threatened to call police and he began following her through the parking lot in his vehicle, an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office report on the incident noted.

Get the full timeline of what happened

Kelly and a trainee arrived at the shopping center when Roberts “fired upon them through the driver’s side window still seated in his vehicle,” the incident report stated. Kelly was hit multiple times before Roberts reportedly drove away before turning around and began firing more shots at the officers.

The DSPD trainee returned fire before Roberts fled the scene. Roberts was not injured, but his vehicle was hit, EBRSO investigators said.

Roberts was eventually cornered less than a mile away on Hwy 190 where he was shot and killed by a LPSO deputy. 

READ NOW: Suspect in Denham shooting killed had a rap sheet

Kelly was transported to nearby Ochsner Health Center before being transported to Our Lady of the Lady Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge. Kelly remained in critical condition until his passing.


Cpl. Kelly will be escorted to the Seale Funeral Home in Denham Springs. The public is welcome to like Range Ave. for a 6:30pm departure from OLOL to Seale on June 2nd.

Show of support

There was an immediate show of support for Kelly and his family. Fellow officers and community members rallied for prayers and benefits to help Kelly through his recovery.

The next morning, nearly 200 bags of blood were donated at OLOL where people lined up to give blood for Kelly. The donations made a big dent in the dire need for blood at the hospital.

Several Denham Springs businesses also held fundraisers for Kelly, and community members have organized jambalaya fundraisers.

Benefits are also scheduled for June 3 for Cpl. Kelly’s family.

Anyone still wishing to help Kelly’s family can make monetary donations through Behind the Line. Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 2490, Denham Springs, LA 70727. Electronic payments can be made using PayPal or Cash App. Behind the Line asks that donors put “DSPD” in the memo section.

DSPD is asking everyone to please respect the privacy of the Kelly family and the entire DSPD.

“We won’t be answering any questions right now. We will provide an update on the funeral arrangements and procession when those plans have been finalized,” said DSPD’s Sgt. Scott Sterling.

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