NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Police on Saturday arrested a man suspected of fatally shooting a police officer and critically wounding two sheriff's deputies after allegedly setting fire to a mobile home in south Louisiana, where an elderly man's body was found.
A Chitimacha tribal officer was pronounced dead at the scene of the shootings in Charenton, while two St. Mary Parish sheriff's deputies were critically wounded and taken to local hospitals, said Louisiana State Police Trooper Stephen Hammons.
Hammons said the officers were responding to a report of an armed man walking down a road near the Cypress Bayou Casino when Wilbert Thibodeaux, 48, of Charenton allegedly shot them.
"Thibodeaux fired at the Chitimacha Officer, fatally wounding him," state police said in a news release. "As two St. Mary Deputies, who were in the same car, arrived at the scene Thibodeaux fired multiple shots hitting the deputies. During the encounter, Thibodeaux was shot."
Investigators found the burned remains of a man after extinguishing a fire at a mobile home that Thibodeaux is suspected of setting before the officers confronted him, Hammons said.
Police identified the deceased man in the mobile home as Eddie Lyons, 78, of Charenton. "Detectives suspect Lyons was shot by Thibodeaux before the fire," state police said in a news release.
Thibodeaux was treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound that wasn't considered life-threatening and released, according to Hammons, who said investigators were questioning him Saturday evening. Charges against him are pending.
The state Fire Marshal's office is investigating the fire.
"Today is a difficult day for our partners in St. Mary Parish," Col. Mike Edmonson, the State Police superintendent, said in a statement. "My thoughts and prayers are with the deputies and the officer's families tonight. I know the coming days and weeks will be difficult ones for the men and women of the Chitimacha Police Department and the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office. We will assist their agencies in any way we can during these trying times."