LaPlace shooting suspect released from hospital

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LAPLACE – One of the hospitalized suspects arrested in Thursday’s shootings of four St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff’s deputies was formally charged Monday and booked into the parish jail.

Brian Lyn Smith, 24, one of two suspects hospitalized after the shooting, checked out Monday and was immediately turned over to authorities, according to State Police, which is handling the investigation.

Smith faces an attempted first-degree murder of a police officer charge in connection with the shooting of Deputy Michael Scott Boyington early Thursday morning. Boyington was working a traffic detail in a remote parking lot in LaPlace used by Valero St. Charles Refinery contract workers and sustained wounds from gunshots fired from a vehicle occupied by Smith and four others.

The other injured shooting suspect, Kyle Joekel, 28, remained hospitalized as he continues to receive treatment for several gunshot wounds. Trooper Nick Manale, a State Police spokesman, said it is not known when Joekel will be well enough to be released and booked with principal to attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.

Brian Smith now joins Terry Smith, 44, Derrick Smith, 21, Teniecha Bright, 21, Chanel Skains, 37 and Britney Keith, 23, who were all arrested Thursday. Terry Smith, Derrick Smith and Bright were charged with principal to attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, and Skains and Keith were charged with accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder of a police officer in the shooting of Boyington.

The other deputies were attacked when they went to Riverview Trailer Park, where the suspects lived. Deputies Jeremy Triche and Brandon Nielsen had tracked the vehicle used in the initial shooting to a residence at the trailer park and were killed when a suspect opened fire on them with an assault rifle while they were questioning two others. Deputy Jason Triche was also injured in the shootings.

Some of the suspects are known to have ties to a violent anti-government organization known as Sovereign Citizens, which is on the FBI’s watch list. Authorities from Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana, South Carolina and Virginia had been monitoring their actions prior to Thursday’s shootings.

It was also revealed Monday that some of the suspects involved in the killing of Nielsen and Triche worked as laborers at the Diamond Diesel refinery, which is under construction near the Valero refinery in Norco. The main contractor on the job, Turner Industries of Baton Rouge, released a statement confirming their employment.

“Some of the suspects were Turner employees and due to the ongoing law enforcement investigation, we will have no further comment regarding the employment status of any of the suspects,” the statement read. “Turner joins with all local, state and federal law enforcement, the community of St. John the Baptist Parish and with the people of the state of Louisiana in offering our prayers and condolences to the families.”

Manale said investigators on Monday were still collecting and reviewing evidence and interviewing witnesses to the shooting. He said the State Police Crime Lab and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were analyzing multiple weapons recovered from the scene.

“This is a very tedious, lengthy process, but technicians are working very quickly to provide results,” he said.

The suspects have only been booked in the initial shooting of Boyington. As the investigation moves forward, Manale said more charges are expected. He also said the investigation could widen at a later time if reports that the suspects were involved in anti-government groups are confirmed.