A 28-year-old Beatrice, Neb., man is among seven people in custody in southern Louisiana after two sheriff’s deputies were shot to death in an early morning ambush at a trailer park.
Two of the seven in custody were hospitalized with gunshot wounds, including Kyle D. Joekel of Beatrice.
Authorities said Joekel and Brian L. Smith, 24, and two wounded St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff’s deputies were expected to survive.
Killed were deputies Brandon Nielsen, 34, and Jeremy Triche, 27.
Five of those arrested were at the scene of the shootings in LaPlace, La. Two others were accused of being accessories.
Brian L. Smith was charged with attempted first-degree murder. Joekel; Terry Smith, 44; Derrick Smith, 22; and Teniecha Bright, 21, are facing charges of principal to attempted first-degree murder.
Other charges were expected. All seven are from LaPlace, which is about 20 miles west of New Orleans.
Joekel was wanted in Gage County, Neb., in a terroristic-threats case, Gage County Sheriff Millard “Gus’’ Gustafson said Friday.
Joekel is believed by authorities to have ties to anti-government groups, mainly Posse Comitatus. He also was under investigation in Gage County concerning marijuana sales.
Gage County sheriff’s deputies and Nebraska State Patrol troopers were called to the Grand Avenue Bar & Grill in Barneston, which is near the Kansas border, about 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21, 2011. Joekel and another Beatrice man, David Schwartz, 43, allegedly were making threats against bar patrons and law enforcement in general, Gustafson said.
The two men left the bar in Joekel’s Dodge pickup truck before authorities arrived, heading north out of town and then reversing course, speeding through Barneston.
Gustafson said the men continued south into Kansas, with a pursuit ending in Oketo after the fleeing pickup struck two parked vehicles and slammed into a house.
Schwartz was apprehended and later released by authorities. Joekel slipped away, eventually making his way to Louisiana.
“We kind of knew he was heading in that direction,’’ Gustafson said.
“This whole thing (the Louisiana shootings) maybe would not have happened,’’ he said, “if we had been able to stop” Joekel a year ago.
Sheriff Michael Tregre of St. John the Baptist Parish said the incident in Louisiana started about 5:30 a.m. Thursday when a gunman opened fire for unknown reasons on a deputy working an off-duty job at a site away from the trailer park. That deputy was wounded.
Tregre said someone called authorities with a description of a car leaving the scene, and officers tracked it to the Riverview Trailer Park in LaPlace.
When officers found the car, they handcuffed a person outside a mobile home, then knocked on its door. Tregre said someone with a dog answered.
“Another person exited that trailer with an assault weapon and ambushed my two officers,” Tregre said.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.