The officers came under fire while responding to a report of a man armed with a shotgun walking in the 10000 block of Flattown Road in Charenton.
When the Chitimacha officer arrived on the scene he encountered Wilbert Thibodeaux, 48, of Charenton, according to reports from State Police.
Thibodeaux reportedly fired at the Chitimacha officer fatally wounding him.
State Police say that as the two St. Mary deputies arrived at the scene in the same vehicle Thibodeaux fired multiple shots hitting the deputies.
During the encounter, Thibodeaux was shot and other responding deputies took him into custody without further incident.
A mobile home fire, believed to be set by Thibodeaux prior to officers’ arrival, was extinguished by firefighters.
State Fire Marshal investigators then discovered the body of 78-year-old Eddie Lyons of Charenton in the home. Detectives suspect Lyons was shot by Thibodeaux before the fire.
Thibodeaux was treated for his gunshot wound at Franklin Foundation Hospital and released Saturday afternoon. He is currently in State Police custody at the Iberia Parish Jail. He has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of arson. According to earlier reports, Thibodeaux had been arrested Tuesday by the Chitimacha Police on charges of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. Disposition on those charges has not been released.
The two deputies are in stable condition at hospitals in New Orleans and Lafayette. Both were stabilized at Franklin Foundation Hospital before being flown out by air med.
The shooting remains under investigation by State Police and the fire by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
“Today is a difficult day for our partners in St. Mary Parish,” Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson of the State Police said Saturday. “My thoughts and prayers are with the deputies and the officers’ 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.”
St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Chitimacha Police Department, State Police, the Fire Marshal’s Office and the 16th Judicial District Attorney were holding a press conference this morning to release the names of the officers involved and speak about their service to their community.