A St. Charles Parish sheriff’s deputy was shot multiple times in an “apparent ambush,” deputies say.
The incident happened around 9:15 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of Louisiana Street and Highway 90 in Paradis. A witness claims that she heard approximately 15 gunshots in the area.
Officers say that Corporal Bert Hazeltine, 36, was directing traffic in a school zone when he was shot multiple times in an “apparent ambush.” He was rushed to LSU Interim Hospital. Officers add that he was alert at the scene and talking to officers.
Hazeltine was shot three times and suffered wounds to his face, arm and chest. Investigators say that his vest may have saved his life. However, doctors say Hazeltine might lose his eyesight. One of the bullets penetrated his lung. He was taken into surgery for bleeding in the chest, but is not in stable, but guarded, condition.
Hazeltine was able to return fire at the suspect, officers say. Following a brief shootout, a deputy and a passerby were able to apprehend the suspect, dragging him into the back of a nearby police cruiser. The suspect has not been identified at this time.
“It appears to be unprovoked. We don’t know exactly what his motive was, but he is in custody,” said Pat Yoes, a spokesperson for St. Charles Sheriff’s Office.
Two schools were briefly placed on lockdown in St. Charles Parish. Parish school spokeswoman Stevie Crovetto says lockdowns were briefly in place at R.J. Vial Elementary School and J.B. Martin Middle School. The sheriff’s office advised them to place schools on lockdown after the incident. The lockdowns have since been lifted.
Hazeltine has a wife and four children. He has been with the sheriff’s department for about 15 years, where he currently serves in the traffic division.