An infectious disease specialist who was shot and killed by police in New Orleans is among the thousands of doctors who are expected to be targeted in an outbreak that has left dozens of people dead and sickened more than 6,000 others.
The Louisiana Medical Society on Wednesday confirmed that Dr. Stephen Smith, who had been the medical director for its regional headquarters in Baton Rouge, was killed by officers during a raid in his home early Tuesday morning.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Smith,” the society said in a statement.
A source familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press that Smith had been on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List since August.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, told the AP that Smith’s body was found on a porch in his hometown of New Orleans.
He said the shooting happened in Smith’s driveway and that Smith was unarmed.
Smith, a native of Alabama, was a physician at a local hospital and worked for the city’s Department of Public Health and Hospitals, where he oversaw an outpatient clinic for patients with respiratory problems.
In a Facebook post, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called Smith “a brilliant, kind man who dedicated his life to saving lives.”
“As a medical professional, he was dedicated to improving health care and public safety in New Orleanians,” Landrieus said.
Dr. Smith was a longtime friend of the mayor, who also knew him as a colleague and classmate, Landrieau wrote.
Landrieu also said that Smith worked in a clinic where he treated children with asthma, who are often at risk of contracting the virus.
New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison said in an email that he could not immediately provide details about the circumstances of the shooting, which occurred just before midnight in the early hours of Tuesday.
He also said Smith was on a “person of interest” list.
State Rep. Chris Smith, D-Baton Rouge, told ABC News he was briefed by federal authorities and that he was told of the deadly shooting shortly after midnight.
He added that Smith “did nothing wrong” and that the investigation was ongoing.
Harrison said that the city had not yet received a request from federal authorities to seek the death penalty.
Baton rier Police Chief Anthony Batiste said officers were dispatched to the address at about 1 a.m. after receiving a call about a “suspicious vehicle,” but the call was turned over to the FBI, which has been investigating the shooting.
Batiste said that officers found a man and a woman in a parked vehicle in a nearby street.
Police later learned that the woman had been shot in the neck and the man had been hit in the chest.
At about 3 a.s.m., the woman and the shooter’s companion exited the vehicle, Batiste told reporters.
The suspect was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at about 3:20 a.mi., Batiste added.
Police said the woman, who was identified as Marylou Haugh, was shot in her neck and is in critical condition.
She has not been identified.
The shooter, who has not yet been identified, has not spoken to police, Batista said.
Police said they did not have details on the suspect’s motives.
Authorities did not immediately release the name of the officer who shot Smith.
Earlier on Wednesday, Baton Rouge Police Chief John Fortunato said that police were investigating the circumstances surrounding Smith’s death.
He noted that the officer was wearing a body camera and said that investigators were examining the video to determine what transpired.
Fortunato did not elaborate on the circumstances that led to the shooting and said there were no suspects at the scene at the time.