Former suspect testifies in St. John deputy shooting trial

Brian Smith
Brian Smith
Teniecha Bright
Teniecha Bright

ST. JOHN PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Chilling testimony Friday in the case of St. John deputy shootings. A former suspect, now a material witness, gave a detailed account of the events surrounding the shooting of the deputies.

22-year-old Teniecha Bright took the stand Friday in a St. John courtroom. She testified about the moments that led up to when two deputies were killed and two others wounded last August.

"For some unknown reason at this time, a gunman opened fire on him...multiple times," said St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre just hours after the August shooting.

In the days that followed, seven people were arrested including Bright. But, prosecutors dropped charges against her and she is now a material witness. Bright testified she met suspect Terry Smith through her mother, who arranged for him to give her a ride to work at the Valero plant every day.

Bright says about one month later, she and four of the suspects were in Smith's pickup truck as they left work. She says an officer tried to pull them over, but Smith fled and suspect Brian Smith shot at the officer. Bright said she begged Terry Smith to pull over, but he drove to a trailer park where suspect Kyle Joekel stopped her from making a call. They ordered her into a trailer, and they later heard sirens approaching.

Bright says Joekel and Terry Smith went to talk to the officers.

"We heard a lot of screaming," said Bright. "They were screaming, 'Help! Help!' And they said, 'Brian, kill them all."

Bright says Brian Smith headed out of the trailer.

"You hear the door opening and then a bunch of shots.... it was over in 30 seconds. Everything went really quiet."

She says she eventually left the trailer and ran into police. Brian Smith's attorney, Richard Bourke, questioned her recollection of what she heard the suspects yelling during cross examination.

"Could it have been, 'They're going to kill us all," said Bourke.

"Nope. It was, 'Kill them all'," said Bright.

Bright's testimony was video recorded in case she was unavailable to testify at the trial of the remaining suspects at a later date.

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