Officers with the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office investigate at 1530 Hickory Hill Road in Tioga on Thursday morning. Rapides Parish Sheriff Chuck Wagner said Joseph Chehardy shot his wife, Janeva Chehardy, late Wednesday night at their Hickory Hill Road residence.
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TIOGA -- A Tioga man killed his wife and then tried to run over two deputies while he had his 2-year-old son in his truck, prompting the deputies to fire shots and wound the man, authorities reported.
The slaying suspect, Joseph Anton Chehardy, 51, of 1530 Hickory Hill Road, Tioga, was arrested a short while later while seeking medical treatment for a gunshot wound.
The deputies didn't know Chehardy had a child in his truck when they fired shots at the truck as Chehardy tried to run them over Wednesday night, officials said.
Rapides Parish Sheriff Chuck Wagner said the deputies acted properly under the circumstances and "did a great job."
Chehardy has been charged with second-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, one count of child desertion and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Chehardy shot and killed his wife, Janeva Lasyone Chehardy, 43, in their home Wednesday night, Wagner said.
The slaying is the latest in a rash of domestic violence-related homicides in Rapides Parish.
Around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office received a call of a disturbance with shots being fired at the Hickory Hill Road residence. Two sheriff's deputies arrived within three minutes of getting the call. The deputies parked their patrol cars a short distance from the home and were easing their way up when they saw a man -- later identified as Chehardy -- running out of the home, Wagner said.
Deputies told the man to stop, but he refused to listen and got into a pickup truck. Chehardy then "raced the engine" and drove into the path of the two deputies, Wagner said. The deputies fired shots at the pickup truck as they were jumping out of the path. Several bullets hit the truck, with at least one going through the door and hitting Chehardy in the leg before he sped away.
Wagner said the deputies went into the home where they found Janeva Chehardy dead from at least two gunshot wounds -- one to the head and one to the groin. Officers found a child's electronic toy still activated near where the woman was found but couldn't find a child there.
About 20 minutes after Chehardy fled the scene, deputies who were scouring the parish looking for him or the truck he fled in found Chehardy seeking medical treatment for the gunshot wound at Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Pineville.
He was taken into custody and then taken to Huey P. Long Medical Center, Pineville, for treatment of the minor injury from the "flesh wound" he suffered from the gunshot.
Wagner said deputies discovered the couple's 2-year-old son at the VA Medical Center. The child was in the truck that was fired upon by officers as Chehardy was trying to run over them, authorities said. The boy was not injured, although Wagner said he seemed to be in shock because of the incident.
Deputies found the truck, which Chehardy had attempted to hide behind the hospital.
"We are still in the investigative process, but this appears to be a domestic argument that escalated into a shooting," Wagner said.
Chehardy was described as having an "extensive record" of crimes, including charges of cruelty to children, injury to a child, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, carrying a prohibited weapon including switchblade and brass knuckles, deadly conduct, criminal mischief, theft of more than $1,500 and resisting an officer, Wagner said. The charges date back to 1977 and are out of Texas.
The couple recently moved to the Tioga home from Texas. Sheriff's officials said Janeva Chehardy's family lives in the area, and she was from here.
Wagner said the two deputies involved in shooting at the pickup truck were put on administrative leave with pay after the shooting, as is the department's procedure. There is no investigation into their shooting as "we are very adamant they acted within their bounds," Wagner said. "They did a great job, and we are thankful that no one else gets hurt."
The men were allowed to return to work Thursday. There will be no further investigation into their shooting, Wagner said.
The Tioga slaying was the fourth domestic violence-related homicide in the past six months worked by the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office alone. In the past three months, Alexandria Police officers have handled two such homicides, and Avoyelles Parish law enforcement another.
In November, a then-83-year-old man was arrested after he reportedly shot and killed his 81-year-old ex-wife in the Boyce area and then called police and family to tell them about the shooting.
Richard Hargis of Colfax was charged in November with first-degree murder in connection with the case and then was charged in January with sexual battery. He reportedly assaulted a nurse in January while receiving treatment at Huey P. Long Medical Center. He remains in the custody of the Rapides Parish Jail where he's been since his November arrest.
On March 17, family members found the bodies of Bobby Ray Smith, 70, and his ex-wife Alvy Jean Smith, 65, in their Deville home. Both had been shot. Investigators have said that sometime after March 14, Bobby Smith shot Alvy Smith and then himself. There were reports of previous domestic violence between the two.
On March 22, sheriff's detectives were called to a Rapides Station home to investigate another murder-suicide. Investigators found the body of Thomas E. Evans, 28, of Rapides Station in a suitcase at his home. The body of Johnny C. Clark, also 28, was found in the driveway of the home near bushes.
Officials said Evans and Clark were childhood friends and that the fight leading to the shooting may have started because Evans' girlfriend didn't want Clark to continue staying at their home. They suspect that Clark shot Evans and then stuffed Evans' body into a suitcase. Clark shot himself as deputies arrived at the home to investigate a report of shots fired.
Alexandria Police arrested an Alexandria man in February for an apparently domestic violence-related homicide in which his girlfriend was killed.
The body of Chiquina Robinson, 31, was found Jan. 31 in a Dumpster on Lower Third Street. She apparently was beaten to death. Her boyfriend, 25-year-old Marcus McCray, was charged with second-degree murder and obstruction of justice in her death.
Alexandria Police officers suspect Robinson was killed on Jan. 28 in her Walden Point Apartment on Twin Bridges Road in Alexandria. Authorities say McCray has confessed to killing her.
Robinson's death happened on the heels of a suspected domestic-violence murder in Avoyelles Parish. On Jan. 24, Avoyelles Parish law enforcement officials found the body of Amy Harris, 32, of Cottonport in a pasture in Marksville.
Her longtime boyfriend, 39-year-old Terry Jerard Day, of 451 Delphine Alley, Cottonport, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Detectives in that case said Day and Harris reportedly had a "tumultuous relationship" and that officers were called to their home several times in the past for reports of violence or arguments.
Before the Tioga slaying, the most recent domestic-violence death resulted from an argument between two brothers at their home on Highpoint Drive, Alexandria Police said.
Nathan White, 27, was charged with manslaughter, accused of stabbing his brother, Josh White, 30, to death with a sword. Witnesses said both men had been drinking when they began arguing.
"We are seeing an increase in domestic violence right now," Wagner said. "I'm not sure what is going on, if it is the downturn in the economy or what. But it is something law enforcement deals with day to day."
In April, the Sheriff's Office served 49 temporary restraining orders, and so far this month there have been 30. Wagner said the department is doing what they can to deal with the issue, but said it is hard to be protective when it comes to domestic violence beyond education on the part of the officers and the community.
"We are doing our best to make sure we handle the situation before it escalates," he said. "And there are several laws in place to address the issues."