Charges upgraded against suspects in deputies shooting - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Charges upgraded against suspects in deputies shooting

Kyle Joekel (Source: St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office) Kyle Joekel (Source: St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office)
Brian Smith Brian Smith
Brittney Keith Brittney Keith
LAPLACE, LA (WAFB) -

Charges have been upgraded against three of the suspects in the shooting of four deputies in St. John the Baptist Parish.

The Louisiana State Police said Kyle David Joekel and Brian Lyn Smith are now charged with two counts of first-degree murder of a police officer and three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.

Brittney Keith is now facing two counts of principal to first-degree murder of a police officer and three counts of principal to attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.

Joekel was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Seven suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting. They have all been moved to the St. Charles Parish jail.

Terry Smith, Derrick Smith and Teniecha Bright are charged with principal to attempted first-degree murder of a police officer. Chanel Skains is charged with accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.

Deputies Jeremy Triche and Brandon Nielsen were killed on Aug. 16 in what Sheriff Mike Tregre described as an ambush. Deputies Jason Triche and Michael Boyington II were injured. They remain hospitalized recovering from their wounds.

Tregre said the initial shooting happened near Bayou Steel on LA 3217 in a Valero plant parking lot south of LaPlace around 5 a.m. Deputy Jason Triche was helping with traffic in the area when someone walked up to him and opened fire.

Tregre said a witness called to report a speeding vehicle on the highway and deputies ended up at a nearby trailer park to investigate. He added Jeremy Triche and Nielsen were questioning two people about shooting when a third made his way outside through another door.

Tregre said the pair was then shot to death by that third suspect. Boyington was wounded in the shooting.

Terry Smith has ties to an anti-government group, Sovereign Citizens, an organization described by the FBI as a domestic terror group.

Joekel is a fugitive from Nebraska.  Former FBI agent in charge Jim Bernazzani says information normally comes out when Homeland Security does its threat assessment on energy worker's applications.

But, both men did get hired as laborers for Turner Industries of Baton Rouge, a company assisting in the construction of Diamond Diesel refinery.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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