PORT ALLEN, La. (AP) _ A drunken driving suspect shot a Louisiana state trooper early Wednesday, grazing the trooper’s head, and was preparing to shoot the downed trooper again when West Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies shot him, state police said.

The man was standing over the trooper, revolver in hand, when deputies arrived, said Col. Mike Edmonson, commander of Louisiana State Police. He said one deputy fired through the windshield of his own patrol car while the other got out and fired.

William Belniak, 20, of Burlington, Conn., was hospitalized in serious condition and faces charges of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, resisting arrest and DWI, state police said.

Senior Trooper Kevin Biddy was released Wednesday afternoon from a hospital, state police said.

“He’s going to be OK,” Edmonson said. “I told him he’s got a hard head.”

Each deputy fired four to six shots, said Maj. Richie Johnson of the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Edmonson and Lt. Doug Cain, a state police spokesman, said Biddy pulled the driver over around 2:30 a.m., thinking he was intoxicated, and was about to arrest him. The man fought with the trooper, then broke away, ran to his car and got a revolver, they said.

Biddy immediately called for backup and chased Belniak back to the car, wrestling him for the gun. “During the struggle for the weapon, Belniak fired a shot, striking the trooper in the head,” state police said.

They said Biddy fell to the ground as the deputies arrived and the deputies shot Belniak as he stood over the trooper and tried to fire again.

“There’s no doubt in our minds these deputies saved his life,” Edmonson said.

Belniak’s passenger, Samanda Hayes, 42, of Baton Rouge, was detained for questioning. It was not clear whether she would face charges.

Edmonson said she has “an extensive arrest record” and Belniak “had a few arrests” in Connecticut.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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