A Zachary, LA, reserve police officer, who is also a full-time firefighter, was killed after being run over by a U-Haul truck driven by a felony suspect Monday night, according to officials.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office identified the victim as Christopher Lawton. Lawton was an unpaid reserve officer with the Zachary Police Department and deputy chief of the Zachary Fire Department.
He and another Zachary police officer were working undercover to arrest a man accused of using an AR-15 to hit his girlfriend in the face when he was killed, said Zachary Police Chief David McDavid.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office reports Albert Franklin, 33, and Ashley Chaney, 30, have been arrested. Deputies say Franklin will be charged with first degree murder, hit and run, damage to property, and as a fugitive from the Zachary Police Department. They added Chaney will be charged with obstruction of justice, KFVS reports.
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said Lawton and another officer were executing a felony warrant at the time. The two officers saw the suspect in the U-Haul and parked in the parking lot to observe him. They watched him for several minutes, then pulled up behind him and got out of their marked unit. Gautreaux said when the suspect saw them, he began to drive away.
Lawton was reportedly on the passenger side of the truck and was pinned between the truck and a grocery cart return.
Lawton joined the fire department in March 1996 as a volunteer and then became a full-time firefighter in March 1998, Kimble said. Kimble said almost exactly 22 years later in March 2018, his career tragically ended. He had been a deputy chief for the last few years and was an arson investigator, Kimble said.
"In my book, he's a double hero," said Chief McDavid. "He served his community."
Lawton became a reserve officer with the Zachary Police Department in 2008, where he worked part-time, unpaid for the last decade, McDavid said. However, McDavid said Lawton was a fully certified officer, who received the same training as full-time officers and was a trusted veteran of their force, the Advocate reports.