From the District Attorney's Office
There will be no criminal charges brought against a Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office employee who shot and killed an individual who came to his home while off duty and threatened him, according to Twenty First Judicial District Attorney Scott Perrilloux.
After reviewing the findings of the investigation done by the Louisiana State Police, Perrilloux stated that Browning’s actions did not constitute criminal conduct under the law which allows deadly use of force when it is in self-defense by one who reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm and the killing is necessary to save himself from that danger.
“In this case, Mr. Browning was at his home when Mr. Sparkman arrived unannounced and threatened him while armed with a handgun then physically attacked Mr. Browning. It is clear that Browning’s actions were reasonable and necessary to protect himself,” stated Perrilloux.
Here's the official report in full:
In reviewing the applicable statues and applying the facts, we find that Mr. Browning is not liable for any criminal wrongdoing and agree with the Louisiana State Police findings. The altercation occurred on Mr. Browning’s property; he was physically attacked by an individual with a weapon, and engaged his legal right to protect himself, his property and others who might have been endangered.
On Monday, December 16, 2019 at approximately 12:40am, an altercation occurred at 39125 Highway 16, Denham Springs, Louisiana, at the residence of Mr. Caleb Browning. During the altercation multiple gunshots were exchanged between Mr. Browning and Mr. Aaron Sparkman. Aaron Sparkman was shot multiple times resulting in his death at the scene. Because of the fact that Caleb Browning was an employee of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana State Police were called in to investigate the incident, even though Mr. Browning was not on duty and was at his own residence when this incident occurred. After a very thorough and complete investigation, the Louisiana State Police determined that Mr. Sparkman armed himself and came to Mr. Browning’s residence without authority to confront Mr. Browning and Ms. Brandi Hicks. Ms. Hicks was Mr. Sparkman’s estranged girlfriend with whom he shared a three-year old child.
State Police Investigation determined that Mr. Sparkman was on Mr. Browning’s property without authority and was in the commission of an Aggravated Assault with a Firearm at the time that lethal force was used against him by Mr. Browning. Based upon a review of witness statements, collection of physical evidence, phone records, and surveillance videos, our office concurs in the findings that Mr. Browning’s action were in self-defense and were completely justifiable.
Neighbors reported that earlier in the night, between the hours of 11pm and midnight, that Mr. Sparkman was at his residence in St. Helena Parish, “blaring loud music” when they “heard rapid gunfire.” Not long after, the music was turned off and they heard Mr. Sparkman pull away in his truck sometime after midnight. Several shell casings were found at the Sparkman residence that would support the neighbors’ observations. Additionally, a review of cell phone records revealed text messages that indicated Mr. Sparkman was very upset that Ms. Hicks was not coming home that evening and refusing to respond to his messages. Approximately 30 minutes after neighbors heard Mr. Sparkman leave the residence, he arrived at the Browning residence. Mr. Browning’s residence is gated and has a long winding drive which is several hundred feet in length. Mr. Sparkman apparently parked his vehicle at the gate and left his three-year old child in the vehicle as he went through the woods to gain access to the residence.
As a part of the investigation, State Police were able to view surveillance cameras which captured the entire confrontation from different angles. The videos show Mr. Sparkman emerging from a wooded area adjacent to the home with a gun pointed at Mr. Browning. Although there is no audio, both Mr. Browning and Ms. Hicks indicated that Mr. Sparkman fired several shots as he approached the residence through the woods, which is corroborated by the finding of six fired 40 cal. cartridges at the edge of the wooded area. As Mr. Browning stands stationary in his driveway, Mr. Sparkman aggressively approaches Mr. Browning as both men have their guns pointed at each other. Mr. Browning actually drops his arm to his side at one point to attempt to de-escalate the situation as Mr. Sparkman continues to approach. As he gets closer, the videos show that Mr. Sparkman’s weapon discharges as he swings toward Mr. Browning’s head and hits Mr. Browning with the weapon. Mr. Browning responds by discharging several close range shots as the two men wrestle each other and exchange gunfire. Both men are struck by the other person’s gunfire. Mr. Browning received a severe leg wound while Mr. Sparkman’s injuries were fatal. Authorities are immediately contacted and dispatched to the location.
Ballistics evidence collected at the scene revealed two fired 40 caliber cartridges that were found by Mr. Sparkman’s body which were consistent with Mr. Sparkman’s weapon and eight fired 9mm cartridge cases which were consistent with the weapon owned by Mr. Browning. The autopsy would indicate that Mr. Sparkman was struck six times while it appears that Mr. Browning was struck once. Blood was drawn from Mr. Sparkman and the autopsy results showed a BAC of .117g% and no drugs. Caleb Browning’s medical records indicated that he did not have any alcohol or drugs in his system.
Louisiana Revised Statute
14:19 – Use of Force or Violence in Defense
“A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who is in a [lace where he or she has a right to be shall have no duty to retreat before using force or violence as provided for in this Section and may stand his or her ground and meet force with force.”
Louisiana Revised Statue 14:20 – Justifiable Homicide
A homicide is justifiable:
When committed in self-defense by one who reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm and that the killing is necessary to save himself from that danger.
When committed for the purpose of preventing a violent or forcible felony involving danger to life or of great bodily harm by one who reasonably believes that such an offense is about to be committed and that such action is necessary for its prevention. The circumstances must be sufficient to excite the fear of a reasonable person that there would be serious danger to his own life or person if he attempted to prevent the felony without the killing.
A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who is not in a place where he or she has a right to be shall have no duty to retreat before using deadly force as provided in this Section, and may stand his or her ground and meet force with force.