Vance Matranga Jr.

Dep. Vance Metranga Jr. 

The deputy involved in the shooting death of Josef Richardson during a drug raid in late July at a motel on U.S. 190 in Port Allen July 25 was identified this week by the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office—Dep. Lance Matranga Jr.

A nine-year member of the Riverwest Narcotics Task Force, officials said Matramga fired his gun soon after he and fellow team members burst into Richardson’s motel room using a no-knock arrant which allows officers to enter without notice.

The bullet hit Richardson, 38, at the base of the back of his skull according to a coroner’s report, causing his death, which was determined to be homicide by Dr. Michael Cramer of the East Feliciana Coroner’s Office in his report. 

The members of Richardson’s family have called the shooting unjustified and are demanding “justice for Josef” by providing transparency during the investigation and a timely and fair conclusion.

 Matranga’s records indicate he has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 2010 and has worked as a firearms safety instructor and with the narcotics team. 

He also won an award for saving a state trooper’s life and is the defendant in a lawsuit after he hit a suspect with his unit and broke his leg during a pursuit.

His training includes 50 hours of basic SWAT training and certifications in use-of-force certifications for two years, 2016 and 2018.

Matranga’s actions during the chase of a suspect in 2016 led to a federal lawsuit after the deputy struck the suspect with his vehicle while the man was running away.

His Medal of Valor was the result of the deputy’s helping a state trooper who might’ve been shot in the head by an escaping driver if Matranga not wrangled the gun from the suspect.

His family has demanded “justice for Josef” at a press conference held almost a week after Richardson’s death and are asking for transparency in the investigation, thoroughness during it and prompt attention paid to its completion.

The Sheriff’s Office asked the State Police to investigate the shooting but that agency has had little to say about the ongoing investigation.

“The Louisiana State Police is committed to conducting a thorough, independent and impartial investigation,” read a statement from Troop A released within days of the tradegy. “However, the investigative process takes time.”

Jessica Clouatre, 39, who has been identified as Richardson’s girlfriend was arrested after the shooting and through her attorney has said he was trying to surrender when he was shot.

She was arrested that night and booked in the West Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of distribution of marijuana and distribution of methamphetamine and one count each of possession with the intent to distribute both.

Matranga has been on paid leave since the shooting.

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