Updated link added by admin at 10:55AM
LAPLACE, La. - Two St. John Parish deputies were shot and killed while interviewing suspects in an earlier shooting of a deputy at the parking lot for contractors at Valero Energy.
Sheriff Mike Tregre said the incident began when an officer at the parking lot was approached and shot several times by a suspect. That officer was taken to University Hospital and is in surgery but expected to survive, said Tregre.
Working on tips from a civilian and another officer, a vehicle similar to the suspect's was spotted and tracked to a trailer park.
Tregre said that deputies knocked at the door and had two people come outside for an interview about the shooting. He said at that time, a third suspect exited another door and shot Officer Brandon Nielsen, 34, and Officer Jeremy Triche, 27, to death in what he described as a 'ambush.'
Tregre said he believes there are several suspects in custody, some of whom suffered gunshot wounds. He said he believes officers are in control of the situation and that no suspects are on the loose. He said the public is not believed to be in danger.
"It's been a very difficult day," said an emotional Tregre. "I lost two good officers today."
Officer Michael Boyington, 33 and Officer Jason Triche, 30, underwent surgery for their wounds.
The incident occurred on Highway 3217 in the Valero parking lot. The remote parking lot is located in St. John Parish, while the actual plant is located in St. Charles Parish.
Multiple agencies are involved, including a Jefferson Parish SWAT unit, a K-9 unit, St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office, St. John Parish Sheriff's Office, New Orleans Police Department, U.S. Marshalls, Slidell Police Department and the state police. Also, helicopters are circling the area.
"Every day you go to work and you never know what's going to happen," said State Police spokesperson Melissa Matey. "When you go to work you don't know if you're going to come home. It's a very difficult day for us."
A deputy car was seen riddled with bullets. Traffic in the area is very slow and I-10 is suggested as an alternate route.
Emily C. Watkins Elementary located on River Road is closed for teachers and students.
Update added by admin at 3:55PM
Jeremy Triche, one of two St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff's deputies fatally shot early Thursday morning in LaPlace, would have turned 28 in four days, according to an online profile of his. The other slain deputy, 34-year-old Brandon Nielsen, listed about a dozen years of experience at various local law enforcement agencies on a professional networking site online.
Here are a few details on the professional backgrounds of each:
At sitepicture.co, which describes itself as a "film and broadcast company for the firearms and shooting industries," Triche's page says that he was assigned to the St. John Sheriff's K-9, narcotics and Special Operations Response Team units. Triche, a LaPlace resident, was a standout baseball catcher and football center for St. Charles Catholic, and he graduated from Southern Arkansas University in 2008. He was married and had a 2-year-old son, and his next birthday would have been Aug. 20.
Meanwhile, Nielsen's LinkedIn profile indicates he had been working as a motorcycle deputy and traffic crash investigator for the St. John Parish Sheriff's Office since October 2010. Prior to that, he had done the same jobs for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office for about four years and eight months.
Nielsen had also spent time with the Pontchartrain Levee District Police Department; as a patrolman for the Gramercy Police Department; as a field training officer for the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office; and as a correctional officer for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office, dating back to 2000, the profile noted.
Nielsen was married and had five children between the ages of 6 and 18.
Authorities say Triche and Nielsen were killed while investigating a separate attack that wounded two of their colleagues, Jason Triche and Michael Scott Boyington. While working a traffic detail, Jason Triche -- no relation to Jeremy Triche -- and Boyington were ambushed at a remote parking lot for the Valero refinery at the intersection of Louisiana 3217 and Airline Highway for reasons that are not yet known.
The subsequent investigation into that incident led deputies to the nearby Riverview Trailer Park, where there was a car matching the description of a vehicle involved in the initial shooting. Nielsen and Jeremy Triche then began questioning a man in a trailer when they noticed a second man inside who was fully clothed but under a blanket. The deputies asked both men to come outside, and the men complied.
However, a third man jumped out of the trailer with an assault weapon and opened fire, slaying Nielsen and Jeremy Triche.
At a news conference Thursday morning, St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre said, "This is a very difficult day. I lost two good men."
Tregre asked the public to pray for the recovery of Boyington and Jason Triche, who were undergoing surgery for their injuries when the sheriff met with reporters.
The violence has shocked communities in the metro New Orleans area and across the state. In Baton Rouge, Gov. Bobby Jindal has vowed that the Louisiana State Police, which is overseeing the investigation into the shootings of the deputies, "will be working with other law enforcement agencies to ... make sure the suspects are prosecuted to the fullest extent."
Jindal remarked in a written statement, "The men and women of our law enforcement are heroes who run towards danger, not away from it, so that we can be safe."
St. John Parish sheriff's deputies Michael Scott Boyington, left, and Jason Triche, right, were injured in the first shootout early Thursday morning.