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Ex-contractor shot by Tulane police has criminal past, records show

Tulane University this week released additional information about a shooting that involved campus police Friday afternoon near the school’s baseball and football stadiums.

A university spokesman identified the man shot by a campus police officer as Taivon Aples, a former contract employee at Tulane who had been accused of exposing himself and trespassing on the campus prior to Friday.

The campus officer who shot Aples has been placed on desk duty while a New Orleans Police Department squad that investigates use-of-force incidents examines the case.

Campus police were trying to arrest Aples on Friday after he was spotted near the corner of Ben Weiner Drive and South Claiborne Avenue, close to Yulman Stadium and Turchin Stadium, but he got in his car and tried to hit officers with the vehicle, university officials said.

A campus officer shot Aples, who managed to drive away, according to Tulane. Another motorist then collided with his car at Neron Place and Short Street, less than a mile away. A third, uninvolved motorist who was passing by the scene of that crash drove Aples to a hospital.

New Orleans police said Aples arrived at the hospital’s emergency room in critical condition, with at least one bullet wound to his abdomen. There have been no updates on his condition since then.

There was a child in Aples’ car when the Tulane officer fired at him. Law enforcement sources familiar with the case said it was not clear whether campus police knew the child — who didn’t appear to have been seriously injured — was in the car.

Tulane hasn’t said what responsibilities Aples had through his earlier contract employment.

At the time of Friday’s incident, Aples was out on $30,000 bail in connection with unrelated charges that he plotted to smuggle drugs into New Orleans’ jail while he was detained there on counts of illegal gun and drug possession, court records show.

Aples is due to appear at Criminal District Court for a hearing in that case on Thursday, though it’s possible the proceeding may be delayed. His attorney declined comment Wednesday.

Earl Truvia, who transformed himself into a paralegal for defense attorneys after spending nearly three decades in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola on a murder conviction that was later overturned, pleaded guilty last year to trying to deliver drugs to Aples and another inmate while visiting the city’s lockup.

Friday was not the first time Aples, 27, has been linked to a violent incident. As a 15-year-old he was charged with second-degree murder in a Jan. 12, 2008, shooting that left 16-year-old Gervais Nicholas dead outside a Tulane Avenue nightclub. Aples was charged as an adult in that case.

After a witness recanted his identification just before Aples was set to go to trial in 2012, Aples pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder and was sentenced to the time he had already served in jail while awaiting the resolution of that case. A co-defendant was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury in 2015 and is serving life in prison.

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