Officer who survived being shot in head 2 years ago dies from complications, officials say

The New Orleans Police Department said officer Trevor Abney died over the weekend. (Source: WVUE)
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 9:57 AM MDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE/Gray News) – A New Orleans police officer has died from injuries he sustained more than two years ago when he was shot in the head during an ambush, officials said.

The New Orleans Police Department said officer Trevor Abney died over the weekend.

Abney was shot on Oct. 30, 2020, when he was patrolling the French Quarter, police said. The bullet became lodged in his skull.

Abney’s partner, Officer Brook Duncan IV, was also in the vehicle and injured by shattered glass.

The St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office concluded Monday afternoon that Abney died from complications from the injuries he sustained in the shooting. His death has been ruled a homicide.

Police said Donnell Hassell, 47, has been in custody since the day of the shooting. Police said he opened fire on the officers from the back of a pedicab, which is a small pedal-operated vehicle serving as a taxi.

Hassell was arrested near the scene of the shooting.

Court records show Hassell is awaiting trial on two counts of attempted first-degree murder. He has entered dual pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.

Hassell initially was deemed incompetent to stand trial. But after months of state mental health treatment, he was deemed competent to stand trial in September 2022 by Criminal District Judge Robin Pittman.

Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams said prosecutors will review the case against Hassell and consider upgraded charges now that Abney has died.

“We are absolutely considering upgraded and additional charges,” Williams said in a statement. “We immediately began investigating and evaluating new charges as soon as we learned of Officer Trevor Abney’s passing. We have been in contact with his family and are committed to seeing justice through in this case.”

Interim NOPD Supt. Michelle Woodfork said the news of Abney’s passing has been difficult for the department.

“Officer Abney was a valued member of the police department who served the community with compassion and professionalism,” Woodfork said. “His presence will be greatly missed by all his fellow officers as well as people in the community.”

Following the shooting, Abney received the NOPD’s Medal of Merit for his bravery. He began working for the department in 2015.