Suspect back in Terrebonne jail after standoff, shooting

A handcuffed suspect who barricaded himself inside a Houma City Police car with a firearm for nearly two hours ended the standoff, when he shot and wounded himself Thursday morning, officials said.

Standard Whitrack, 25, was rushed to Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center after being removed from the patrol car, which was parked outside the Terrebonne Parish jail. He was coherent on the way to the hospital, a law enforcement official said, and had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his side.

The gunshot wound, officials said, was so minor that it required little treatment. By 11 a.m., Whitrack was discharged from the hospital and booked at the jail. 

According to Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman and other law enforcement officials, officers originally arrested Whitrack on Prince Collins Street sometime after Midnight in connection with a complaint that he had used a relative’s vehicle without permission. Whitrock resisted officers and after being taken into custody was brought to Chabert after authorities used a taser during his arrest.

At the hospital after being tasered, per routine protocols, the suspect was strip-searched with nothing unusual noted. Once examined and treated the arresting officer took custody of him again, placed him in the back of HPD Unit 354, and headed for the jail on Grand Caillou Road. He was to be booked for resisting arrest and unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Sometime after 3 a.m., as the patrol car approached the jail entrance, Whitrock allegedly said he was going to kill the officer and himself.

“The transporting officer turned around and observed Whitrack in the back seat, handcuffed to his rear and in possession of a semi-automatic pistol,” Chief Coleman said. “Several threats were made to the officer, so he stopped the patrol unit immediately, exited and Whitrack fired the weapon.”

The suspect remained barricaded in the car as State Police troopers, Terrebonne Parish deputies and city officers surrounded the area. A negotiator began dialogue with Whitrack, attempting to convince him to drop the weapon. Whitrack refused.

As dawn began to break, traffic was held up on both sides of Grand Caillou Road. The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office SWAT team had been mobilized and shortly before 6:30 a.m., officials confirmed, a non-lethal flashbang grenade was used to distract Whitrack, who turned the weapon on himself while still handcuffed, inflicting the wound on his side. 

The transporting officer, identified by a ranking law enforcement official as Sidney Theriot, was uninjured. An investigation is ongoing to determine how and why Whitrack possessed a pistol while in police custody. One early theory police are working with is the potential that Whitrack may have secreted the pistol during his arrest, stashed it in the patrol car, and then accessed it on the trip to the jail. No police gunshots were fired at Whitrack, authorities said.

Chief Coleman said the drama had its beginnings Wednesday, when city officers responded to the 1200 block of Division Avenue in reference to a report of an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. The victim, Whitrack’s uncle, complained that his nephew had taken his 2013 Dodge Ram pickup without permission. The prior night, the victim told police, Whitrack had come to his home seeking a place to sleep. When the man awoke Wednesday he found that Whitrack and his truck were missing.

As a result of the investigation, city police were on the lookout for Whitrack and the Dodge truck, and they sought to secure a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. Shortly before Midnight on Wednesday night, officers were dispatched to Prince Collins Street regarding a vehicle in the middle of the road. A man was asleep in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, which turned out to be the pickup officers were seeking. The man in the car was identified as Whitrack, resulting in the initial struggle and the arrest.

Whitrack has had other brushes with the law, most recently a 2016 carjacking arrest, according to court and police records. In connection with that incident Whitrack had led police on a brief chase before he was apprehended.

2019-01-31 07.33.20.jpgJAMES LOISELLE/Houma Times2019-01-31 07.34.32.jpgJAMES LOISELLE/Houma TimesStandard Whitrack