St. Mary deputies in stable condition after shooting

Two St. Mary Parish sheriff’s deputies are still in stable condition after they were shot Saturday morning in a shooting that left two others dead in Charenton near the Chitimacha Native American reservation, a State Police spokesman said Sunday.

Wilbert Thibodeaux, 48, of Charenton, is being held in the Iberia Parish Jail on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of arson in the incident, Trooper Stephen Hammons said in a news release.

The deputies remain in hospitals in Lafayette and New Orleans, Hammons said.

Thibodeaux is also accused in the fatal shootings of a Chitimacha police officer and a mobile home resident, Hammons said.

Authorities plan to complete a detailed investigation into the shootings, Hammons said, asking for patience from the public.

The Chitimacha policeman and deputies responded to reports of a fire at a mobile home and a man armed with a shotgun walking along Flat Town Road just off the Chitimacha reservation, near Cypress Bayou Casino, Hammons said.

Thibodeaux fired at the Chitimacha officer, who died on the scene, then fired multiple shots at the deputies who had just arrived, wounding them, Hammons said. During the exchange of gunfire, Thibodeaux was wounded.

Hammons said he would release more information Monday about Thibodeaux’s shooting.

After Thibodeaux was wounded, deputies took him into custody without incident, Hammons said.

The State Police are investigating the shooting, Hammons said.

St. Mary Parish Sheriff Mark Hebert, Chitimacha Police Chief Blaze Smith, 16th Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney, State Fire Marshal Butch Browning and officials from Louisiana State Police will hold a joint news conference Monday in Franklin to release the names of the officer killed and the deputies who were wounded along with other information, Hammons said.

A time for the news conference has not yet been set, Hammons said Sunday afternoon.

Hammons said the body of Eddie Lyons, 78, of Charenton, the occupant of the mobile home, was found in the burned wreckage of the mobile home. Detectives believe Lyons was shot before the fire was started, he said.

St. Mary Parish Coroner’s Office personnel were conducting an investigation into the incidents, Browning said.

Browning said a mobile home, large shed and two vehicles were destroyed in the fire. The mobile home, shed and one of the vehicles were near each other in the same lot and the second car was on the same side of the street, about 150 feet away from the mobile home.

Browning has said his office suspects the fires were intentional and that his agency’s investigation is ongoing.

Fire investigators have not yet pinpointed the cause or origin of the fires, whether each fire was set individually or if the fire spread to each location, he said.

The casino is run by the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana and is less than a quarter-mile from the scene of the shootings.

Charenton is located about 45 miles southeast of Lafayette.

Access to and from the casino was restricted for roughly 90 minutes as a precautionary measure while law enforcement authorities responded to the shooting, casino spokeswoman Nancy Herrington said.

The Associated Press
contributed to this report.