A gunman targeted a rookie police officer who was heading to work on Wednesday evening, shooting her multiple times mere moments after she stepped out the front door, PEOPLE confirms.
One person has been detained for questioning following the fatal shooting of Officer Chatéri Payne, who had only been with the police force of Shreveport, Louisiana, since finishing academy training in November, authorities said at a press conference Thursday.
That person, a witness, has since been released, explained Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond.
Payne was slated to work the late shift Wednesday, according to Chief Raymond. He would only say she was shot multiple times.
Coincidentally, Wednesday was also National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
It is unknown if Payne was shot outside her own home or someone else’s, the chief said.
In a statement, the Shreveport Police Officers Association described Payne as a “young” and “beautiful” woman at the very beginning of what was shaping up to be a promising law enforcement career.
“She was proving herself to be a capable professional, dedicated to serving the Citizens of Shreveport,” the statement continues. “We lift her family in prayer, and we thank you for allowing her to be a part of us. We stand ready to assist her family and her Academy Classmates.”
No motive for the shooting has been discussed. Payne did not return fire, according to Raymond, who told reporters investigators will “continue to investigate aggressively until we reach a closure.”
He added: “We will follow every lead, wherever they may take us, and we will work to identify and apprehend the coward or cowards responsible for the brutal murder of Officer Payne.”
Payne, who was in uniform at the time of the attack, was rushed from the shooting scene to the nearest hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead, the chief said.
Payne’s Facebook page indicates she graduated from Captain Shreve High School in 2014, and was a student-athlete, running track.
In the wake of Wednesday’s fatal shooting, Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins issued a statement, calling on citizens to thanks their police for the sacrifices they make daily on the job.
“As children, we look up to police officers. As we grow older, we too often take their sacrifices for granted. They are society’s phalanx, the wall between us and those who have no respect for law and order. They form that wall with their life. We must never forget that,” the statement reads.
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“Police officers are human beings just like the rest of us,” Perkins’ statement continues. “Behind the badge is a beating heart—a father, mother, son, daughter, brother, and sister. When they put the uniform on, they put all that on the line. They are willing to sacrifice everything so you and I can feel secure; so our children can safely play at the park.
“Once again, Shreveport wakes up this morning all too aware of the sacrifices police officers make. Let us not forget tomorrow. If you see a police officer, strike up a conversation with them. Tell them how grateful you are for their service. Tell them, ‘Thank you.'”
Raymond said that while he didn’t know Payne well, “she was a very professional officer, very fit, intelligent…her classmates spoke highly of her. This was the job she was meant to do.”
Anyone with any information about the murder is asked to call the Shreveport Police at (318) 673-6920.