MOREHOUSE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent who was shot in the line of duty while on patrol in Morehouse Parish in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2017, has returned to duty.
Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler, 25, was shot four times including once in the head and once in the back while questioning a motorist around 2 a.m. on Jan. 7 on Hwy. 165 between Sterlington and Bastrop in Morehouse Parish. After numerous surgeries and countless hours of physical therapy, Wheeler was cleared to return to full-time duty in late July.
"Tyler Wheeler is an extraordinary young man with a faith and will to live that I have been blessed to witness," said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. "His courage and determination to return to work after surviving a life-threatening attack typifies what it means to be a law enforcement officer."
Wheeler's first day back in uniform was Aug. 4 and he went through a week of in-service training before beginning his first week of patrol duties on Aug. 14.
"We welcome back Senior Agent Wheeler with open arms and are very happy for him, his family, and our division that he has made a miraculous full recovery from his gunshot wounds," said Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division. "Senior Agent Wheeler has always had very high spirits during the entire recovery process. He will once again be a vital asset for our enforcement division moving forward and it is great to have him back at full strength."
Louisiana State Police Detectives arrested Amethyst Baird, 31, of Monroe on one count of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer and Jeremy Gullette, 34, of Monroe, on one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder on Jan. 8. Both are still awaiting trial at this time.
Wheeler was awarded the Louisiana Wildlife Agent's Association (LWAA) "Statewide Agent of the Year" award on March 11.
"I would like to thank everybody who has made it possible for me to return to work especially the doctors who got me stabilized and put back together, the rehab personnel, my family and the enforcement division for always being there every step of the way," said Wheeler.
Wheeler has been an agent for three and a half years and is married with one child.