Seven charged in shootings that killed Louisiana police officers

NEW ORLEANS Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:57pm EDT

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre (C), with Louisiana State Police Colonel Mike Edlmonson, (L), speaks at a press conference with two officers holding portraits of Brandon Nielsen (L) and Jeremy Triche, after an early morning shooting that left the two police officers dead and two other police officers injured in LaPlace, Louisiana August 16, 2012. The gunman fled the scene, and officers investigating the incident ended up at a trailer at a trailer court. While they interviewed two suspects, a person came out of the trailer with an assault weapon and fatally ''ambushed'' two officers. REUTERS/Cheryl Gerber

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre (C), with Louisiana State Police Colonel Mike Edlmonson, (L), speaks at a press conference with two officers holding portraits of Brandon Nielsen (L) and Jeremy Triche, after an early morning shooting that left the two police officers dead and two other police officers injured in LaPlace, Louisiana August 16, 2012. The gunman fled the scene, and officers investigating the incident ended up at a trailer at a trailer court. While they interviewed two suspects, a person came out of the trailer with an assault weapon and fatally ''ambushed'' two officers.

Credit: Reuters/Cheryl Gerber

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NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Louisiana police have charged seven people in connection with shootings near New Orleans on Thursday that killed two sheriff's deputies at a trailer park and wounded two others, authorities said.

Brian Lyn Smith, 24, of LaPlace was charged with attempted first-degree murder while six others also face charges linked to the violence, St. John Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Dane Clement said on Friday.

The charges stem from a pair of related shootings early on Thursday in and around LaPlace, about 25 miles west of New Orleans, in which a gunman shot and wounded St. John Parish Deputy Michael Scott Boyington, 33, as he performed off-duty work directing traffic at a parking lot for Valero Energy Corp.'s St. Charles refinery, St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said.

The gunman fled, and officers investigating the incident ended up at a trailer park in LaPlace. As they were interviewing two suspects, someone came out of a trailer with an assault weapon and shot dead the two officers and wounded another, Tregre said.

The slain deputies were identified as Brandon Nielsen, 34, and Jeremy Triche, 27, while deputy Jason Triche, 30, was wounded.

All of the charges are in connection with the shooting of Boyington, police said. The investigation into the shootings at the trailer park continues and is being led by the Louisiana State Police.

Those charged include Terry Smith, 44, Derrick Smith, 22, Kyle David Joekel, 28, and Teniecha Bright, 21, all accused of being a principal to attempted first-degree murder, Clement said.

Chanel Skains, 37, and Britney Keith, 23, were charged with accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder.

Suspects Brian Lyn Smith and Joekel remain hospitalized with injuries they received in the shooting and will be booked upon release from the hospital, Clement said.

All the suspects were listed as LaPlace residents. Bonds ranging from $350,000 to $750,000 have been set for each. The injured police officers were in stable condition and doing well, Clement said.

Authorities said Joekel was wanted in Kansas and in Nebraska over threats he was accused of making against law enforcement officers. According to the sheriff's office in Gage County, Nebraska, Joekel threatened an officer and led police on a high-speed chase that ended when the car crashed and he escaped on foot.

He is also wanted in Marshall County, Kansas, allegedly for making threats toward law enforcement and escaping on foot after a car chase there, authorities said.

Louisiana State Police spokesman Sergeant Len Marie said several of the suspects have criminal histories and previous arrests, and one was on probation.

(Editing by Xavier Briand, Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)

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