New Orleans officer ambushed, shot in the head faces a long recovery with a bullet in his brain

New Orleans officer ambushed, shot in the head faces a long
recovery with a bullet in his brain 1

NEW ORLEANS, LA – After having been shot in the head in what police described as an “ambush” from October 30th, New Orleans Police Officer Trevor Abney has a long road to recovery

The injured officer’s brother, Shawn Abney, noted how Trevor was always fond about his work in law enforcement:

“He’s been passionate about being in law enforcement.”

Officer Abney began his pursuit of the life of a first responder when having served as a volunteer firefighter in high school.

From there, Officer Abney went on to the National Guard, eventually becoming an officer in the military and doing a tour in Iraq before donning the uniform for the NOPD. 

Shawn spoke about his brother’s recount of the fateful day he was shot in the head in New Orleans: 

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“He said it was a normal day about to start his shift. He was just driving through the French Quarter…He said it felt like a baseball bat he was taking to the face. He had tried to lean over behind his laptop computer and that’s when the bullet came in and hit him.”

The shooting was referred to as an ambush by NOPD officials, with there not having been any sort of interaction between the officers inside of the police cruiser and the shooting suspect. 

According to x-rays from Officer Abney’s injury, the bullet traveled from behind his left eye socket and currently remains lodged in his brain. Doctors say that considering where the bullet rests, it’s simply too dangerous to remove. 

However, according to his brother Shawn, Officer Abney seems to be functioning with relative normalcy despite the bullet stuck inside of his brain: 

“He’s still the same. He can walk, talk, he’s eating, he still sounds like himself.”

While still being able to do the aforementioned, Shawn says that medical professionals suspect that his brother will suffer loss of vision in his left eye. 

But despite concerns over a loss of vision, Shawn is merely grateful that his brother survived the shooting: 

“I tell him every day I love him now. You always tell yourself this isn’t going to happen to us. We are beyond thankful to have him.”

A GoFundMe account has been established for Officer Abney, which has amassed over $25,000 since having launched on October 31st.

Shawn says any donation toward his brother helps during these times, considering the recent pay cuts toward NOPD officers in conjunction with this near-fatal attack: 

“He’s going to need it because these law enforcement officers, they just took a ten percent pay cut and they’re furloughed due to the times right now so it’s tough enough to take a pay cut and then go through a tragedy like this.”

But when it’s all said and done, Shawn believes that his brother has every intention to return to the force after recovering. 

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We at Law Enforcement Today previously reported on this horrific ambush as it was developing.

Here’s that previous report. 


NEW ORLEANS, LA – Two police officers within New Orleans that were injured on October 30th in what was described as an “ambush” in the French Quarter have been identified.

While little has been revealed about the suspected shooter’s motive and history by officials, they’ve stated that the suspect is from out of state.  

Officers Trevor Abney and Brooke Duncan IV from the New Orleans Police Department were the officers fired upon on October 30th while simply being on patrol in the afternoon.

Police say that the suspected shooter is 44-year-old Donnell Linwood Hassell, who is reportedly from Georgia.

Hate crime? Police have identified the New Orleans officer shot in the face - and the man who ambushed the copsDonnell Linwood Hassell – New Orleans Police Department

Officer Abney was said to have been with the NOPD for four years while Officer Duncan has been with the department for 16 tears.

Donovan Livaccari, Attorney for The Fraternal Order of Police, stated that police have become increasingly more aware of the threat of random attacks on law enforcement while also pointing out there’s not much officers can do to really prepare for or “prevent” these types of attacks:

“Ambushes have been something that have been on our radar for quite some time now. It’s something that you always train and prepare for…They were just on routine patrol, stopping at a stop sign.  I mean there’s no, how could you prevent that?”

The suspect was said to have simply opened fire on the officers while he was in the back of a pedicab, striking Officer Abney in the cheek causing the bullet to have lodged into the officer’s skull. Officer Abney was cited as being in serious but stable condition while being treated at the University Medical Center.

Officer Duncan was said to have suffered far less severe injuries from the attack, having sustained minor abrasions from the police cruiser glass that shattered from the gunfire.

According to FOP attorney Livaccari, who has since spoken to Officer Duncan following the attack, he mentioned that Officer Duncan sensed something wasn’t right prior to the gunfire:

“There were certain, you know, motions and glances that kind of, I guess, made the, the hair on the back of his neck stand up. It’s kind of, maybe that sixth sense that policemen develop over the years.”

While it seems that Officer Duncan will be just fine, Officer Abney – an Iraq war veteran – isn’t exactly out of the woods yet.

Livaccari noted that community members need to see officers as being something else than just a badge and acknowledge the person behind it while asking for prayers regarding Officer Abney’s injuries:

“Policemen are human beings just like everybody else, you know. They’re your neighbors. They’re my neighbors.  Their kids go to school with my kids and your kids. Just got to keep, keep officer Abney in our prayers.”

Reportedly the suspect alleged to be the shooter has not been booked into the jail yet, as he was said to have been first checked into a hospital after his October 30th arrest for what was described as a “medical episode”.

According to Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson, no officers reportedly fired their weapons at Hassell when taking him into custody following the shooting:

“He is not – again, he is not – physically harmed at all. Our officers did not discharge any weapons. They did not fire any of their firearms. So, I want to commend those officers who maintained their professionalism.”

It’s believed that once Hassell is released from the hospital that he will be booked into jail under two charges of attempted murder of a peace officer.

When commenting on the reality officers are currently facing, Livaccari stated that awareness of how dire things are is needed more than ever:

“This is a time to be vigilant and to make sure that everybody gets to go home at the end of the day.”

If Hassell is both charged and convicted of attempted murder against the officers, he could be facing up to 50 years in prison for each charge.


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