Deputy Sheriff Brandon Nielsen
St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Department, Louisiana
End of Watch: Thursday, August 16, 2012
Tour of Duty: 1 year, 9 months
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: August 16, 2012
Weapon Used: Rifle
Suspect Info: Five in custody
Agency Contact Information
Sheriff Mike Tregre
St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Department
P. O. Box 1600
LaPlace, LA 70069
Phone: (985) 652-9513
Deputy Brandon Nielsen and Deputy Jeremy Triche were shot and killed while investigating an earlier shooting that injured an officer working an off-duty detail. A vehicle matching the suspect vehicle’s description was located in a trailer park. As deputies interviewed one subject, another subject exited a trailer and opened fire, killing Deputies Nielsen and Triche and wounding another.
Five subjects were taken into custody.
Deputy Nielsen is survived by his wife and five children.
Jeremy Triche, one of two St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff’s deputies fatally shot early Thursday morning in LaPlace, would have turned 28 in four days, according to an online profile of his. The other slain deputy, 34-year-old Brandon Nielsen, listed about a dozen years of experience at various local law enforcement agencies on a professional networking site online.
At sitepicture.co, which describes itself as a "film and broadcast company for the firearms and shooting industries," Triche’s page says that he was assigned to the St. John Sheriff’s K-9, narcotics and Special Operations Response Team units. Triche, a LaPlace resident, was a standout baseball catcher and football center for St. Charles Catholic, and he graduated from Southern Arkansas University in 2008. He was married and had a 2-year-old son, and his next birthday would have been Aug. 20.
Meanwhile, Nielsen’s LinkedIn profile indicates he had been working as a motorcycle deputy and traffic crash investigator for the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office since October 2010. Prior to that, he had done the same jobs for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office for about four years and eight months.
Nielsen had also spent time with the Pontchartrain Levee District Police Department; as a patrolman for the Gramercy Police Department; as a field training officer for the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office; and as a correctional officer for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, dating back to 2000, the profile noted.
Nielsen was married and had five children between the ages of 6 and 18.
Authorities say Triche and Nielsen were killed while investigating a separate attack that wounded one of their colleagues, Michael Scott Boyington. While working a traffic detail, Boyington was ambushed at a remote parking lot for the Valero refinery at the intersection of Louisiana 3217 and Airline Highway for reasons that were not immediately known.
The subsequent investigation into that incident led deputies to the nearby Riverview Trailer Park, where there was a car matching the description of a vehicle involved in the initial shooting. Nielsen, Jason Triche and Jeremy Triche then began questioning a man in a trailer when they noticed a second man inside who was fully clothed but under a blanket. The deputies asked both men to come outside, and the men complied.
However, a third man jumped out of the trailer with an assault weapon and opened fire, slaying Nielsen and Jeremy Triche and hurting another deputy, Jason Triche, 30.
At a news conference Thursday morning, St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre said, "This is a very difficult day. I lost two good men."
Tregre asked the public to pray for the recoveries of Boyington and Jason Triche, who underwent surgery for their injuries.
The violence has shocked communities in the metro New Orleans area and across the state. In Baton Rouge, Gov. Bobby Jindal vowed that the Louisiana State Police, which is overseeing the investigation into the shootings of the deputies, "will be working with other law enforcement agencies to … make sure the suspects are prosecuted to the fullest extent."
Jindal remarked in a written statement, "The men and women of our law enforcement are heroes who run towards danger, not away from it, so that we can be safe."
Jeremy Triche and Nielsen are the first St. John deputies to die in the line of duty in more than six years, the sheriff’s website says. Capt. Octavio "Ox" Gonzalez was killed in an ambush on June 16, 2006, during a manhunt for a suspect who had shot another deputy earlier.