A 25-year-old Louisiana Police officer is on administrative leave after an investigation accused him of lying about being ambushed and shot on duty. That officer, John Michael Goulart Jr, has since been arrested, charged and released on bond.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Goulart Joined the Pineville Police Department in 2018
A news article in the Alexandria Town Talk reported that Goulart and married a Louisiana woman on July 15, 2015.
A May 9, 2018 Facebook post from the Pineville Police Department reported that Goulart was one of the officers set to graduate from Alexandria Regional Police Academy on May 10.
His mother responded to one post asking if her son was one of the graduates, to which she replied, “Yes ma’am!!!”
2. Goulart’s Father Is Also in Law Enforcement
According to John Goulart Sr.’s Linkedin page, he is a deputy at the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office and earned a degree in Criminology at Louisana State University-Alexandria. Some of his “skills” include interrogation, criminal investigations, tasers and crime prevention.
He was also given a recommendation by one of his supervisors, a Captain Travis Davidson, as, “A fair leader who instills confidence in his Division by his examples.”
He celebrated his wife’s birthday in a Facebook post and described his family as recently having had to go through a “nightmarish” week. “It’s been a nightmare this week. Without this wonderful woman and her love, we as a family wouldn’t have gotten through it,” he wrote. “I want to wish my beautiful wife a Happy Birthday and promise to pay her back for this day not being as special as it should have been. I love you Kbear!”
3. Goulart First Reported That He Had Been Ambushed
Goulart said that around 11:20 p.m. on Sunday night, he was leaving his car at a shopping center near Military Highway and Donahue Ferry Road when he was shot in the leg and his police cruiser was hit, local news station KALB reported.
According to local news station WHIO-7, Pineville Police Department’s Deputy Chief Darrell Basco said, “There were shots fired at the officer. The officer didn’t return fire on anybody. He was exiting the patrol vehicle at the shopping center (when) he was ambushed by an unknown person at this time, and two shots were fired: One striking him, and the other hit the vehicle.”
Basco’s comments were originally reported in a KALB article that has since been updated to reflect the changing circumstances and no longer contains the original quote.
Basco was taken to the hospital, treated for his injuries and then released, according to KMOV-4.
After the news, Goulart received an outpouring of support — some of which was monetary — which the Pineville Police Department thanked residents for in a Facebook post:
The Pineville Police Department has received an overwhelming response of support from our Community following the shooting of our Officer.
We are appreciative of all the offers of fundraising and financial support. However, at this time, we covet your prayers for the Officer, his family, the Department and our City. Your continued support and information for the investigation is most needed.
The Officer is home recuperating and a full recovery is expected. Please know that your support has been shared with the Officer.
We will keep you posted as the investigation allows.
Chief Donald Weatherford
Some of the messages immediately written after the incident included one from a woman who said, “Go get ’em PPD!! Lock ’em up!! For a long time!! Prayers to the officer involved…🙏🙏🙏” and another who wrote, “Sending prayers to our men/women in blue!!!”
4. Pineville Police Officers Now Say Goulart Made up the Story
Deputy Chief Darrell B. Basco of the Pineville Police Dept Administrative Bureau told CNN John Michael Goulart Jr., 25, was arrested Tuesday &
charged w/1 count of criminal mischief & 1 count of malfeasance in office after falsely claiming he'd been shot https://t.co/9tjxH0lmbi
— arnoldo garcía (@arnoldogarcia) September 24, 2020
Basco told CNN that Goulart actually shot himself, then lied to the police claiming that he had been ambushed.
Goulart was arrested September 22 and charged with two criminal counts, one of criminal mischief (which carries a maximum penalty of – under Louisiana law) and one of malfeasance in office (which carries a maximum penalty of – under Louisiana law).
Basco released a statement to CNN, in which he said, “The investigation led to a determination that the officer shot himself, concealed and altered the facts,” later adding, “Everything shows it was an accidental discharge.”
KALB reported that Weatherford said the following:
We had no reason originally to question what he was telling us was accurate. As it progressed, that evidence gives you some pretty clear direction and it led us to re-interviewing officer Goulart Jr. and he admitted at that point that he had not been truthful with us during the investigation.
CNN reported that Goulart was in custody at Rapides Parish Detention Center before he posted a $10,500 bond “less than an hour after he was booked.”
Goulart is currently on administrative leave.
5. Social Media Has Blown up With Anger — Snark — at Goulart
The Pineville Police officer out here looking like Jussie Smollet pic.twitter.com/INOON9pgsc
— A Tru Lady (@SuchALady85) September 23, 2020
Many on Twitter have expressed “relief” that the shooter was “caught,” such as one man who wrote, “I’m glad they caught the guy who shot the police officer” and another who wrote, “He should have complied with himself.”
Pineville police officer shoots self in leg. Made up story of ambush for attention.
— Hayden Bordelon (@BordelonHayden) September 23, 2020
Others appeared to be upset that they became invested in Goulart’s story. Here is one exchange from one of the people who replied to the original Facebook post announcing that Goulart had been ambushed, in which he lamented Goulart’s lack of respect:
Kenneth B. Paul: On our FB group “Alexandria Crime Watch” we’ve offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.
Caleb Lupo: They got him 😂😂😂😂
Kenneth B. Paul: And to think I put up the money and made fliers. 🤦🏻♂️
Caleb Lupo: People suck.
Kenneth B. Paul: Caleb Lupo no respect for each other or themselves. 🤷🏻♂️
Others, upset that no officers were charged in the police killing of Breonna Taylor, have expressed outrage.
So, let me get this straight. You have to shoot yourself and be a cop in order to get an arrest in a police-involved shooting???
— Over2020&Trump✊🏾💋✊🏾 (@SickOfTheBS2020) September 23, 2020
In one thread, One woman asked, “Who screens these people?” while another said, “Maybe it’s time to reevaluate the requirements for becoming an officer of the law.”
Another wrote on Facebook, “Do yourself a favor, and donate to something actually worth donating, like to the family of Breona Taylor or the many other victims of bad cops just like this one!!!!”