Wildlife agent shot 5 times scheduled to be released from hospital

Release Date: 01/25/2017

Senior Enforcement Agent Tyler Wheeler is visited by Col. Joey Broussard, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  Wheeler is recovering after being shot 5 times earlier this month while on patrol. Two people have been arrested in the shooting.

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agent, who was shot five times while questioning a motorist, is talking and walking with assistance and may be out of the hospital this week.

Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler, 25, of Monroe, is scheduled to be discharged from the LSU Health Shreveport Trauma Center Jan. 26, and will be transported to a rehab facility in Mississippi, according to his father Darren Wheeler.

“His spirits are high,” Wheeler said. “This is amazing.”

The elder Wheeler said his son has been able to walk with the help of a walker and sometimes with the aid of a medical assistant “to keep him steady.” He is talking and “fussing about staying in here (at the hospital).”

Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, said he and his department are elated by Wheeler’s improvement.

“His Wildlife and Fisheries family is very encouraged by Tyler’s progress to date,” Broussard said. “Everything we’ve been told is that it is a miracle that he survived this cowardly attack and that the doctors are very hopeful he can make a full recovery.”

Broussard, who visited Wheeler on Tuesday, said “it is inspiring to see his great attitude and resolve during his recovery.”

Wheeler’s rehab will focus on strength recovery and regaining the ability to eat a normal diet.  The doctors have been pleased with his motor skills, memory and overall condition, Darren Wheeler said.

LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said Wheeler’s progress “is a true testament to this young man’s amazing will to live. And, it also shows the courage of our law enforcement officers who bravely face dangerous situations every day.”

Wheeler was shot five times, including once in the temple, jaw, shoulder, arm and back on Jan. 7 on Hwy. 165 between Sterlington and Bastrop in the Perryville area.  Wheeler was wearing his department issued body armor vest at the time of the shooting.

Louisiana State Police Detectives arrested 31-year-old Amethyst Baird of Monroe on one count of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.  They also arrested 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette, of Monroe, on one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder.  Both arrests occurred on Jan. 8.




Concordia Parish Man Cited for Running Illegal Guide Service on WMA

Release Date: 01/24/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a Concordia Parish man for allegedly guiding hunts on a wildlife management area (WMA) on Jan. 4 in Concordia Parish.

Agents cited William K. Sutton, 62, for not abiding by WMA rules and regulations after being found guiding hunts on Richard K. Yancey WMA.

Agents were on patrol in the area of the Richard K. Yancey WMA for the bucks only deer season in progress, when they observed a vehicle parked near an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trail.  The vehicle was pulling a small trailer equipped with a dog kennel with another vehicle parked nearby with a New York license plate.

Agents then observed two subjects exiting the woods on foot from the ATV trail with one man carrying a shotgun and the other not armed, which was later revealed to be Sutton.

During the license and compliance check of the man carrying the shotgun, agents found he was carrying a magazine that included an advertisement for SDW Outfitters from Monterey, La., which is owned by Sutton.  At the bottom of the magazine page with the advertisement, agents observed a hand written note indicating that the man paid Sutton a $600 deposit and a post-it note with Sutton’s address.

The gun carrying man admitted to agents that he paid Sutton for his guiding services on the WMA.  After being confronted with the evidence, Sutton also confirmed receiving money for his guiding services on the WMA.

WMA rules and regulations state that nobody may act as a hunting guide for which they are paid by any other individual or individuals for services rendered to any other person or persons hunting on any WMA.

Operating an illegal guide service on a WMA brings a $100 to $350 fine plus court costs and up to 60 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Trey Mason and Senior Agent Eric Little.

New Iberia Man Cited for Oyster Refrigeration Requirements in Lafourche Parish

Release Date: 01/19/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a New Iberia man for an alleged oyster violation on Jan. 15 in Lafourche Parish.

Agents cited Scott J. Parker, 58, for violating the oyster sanitary code due to lack of refrigeration.

Agents were working along Old Hwy 1 just south of Leeville at approximately 4:15 p.m. when they observed two refrigerated trucks with oysters parked next to Bayou Lafourche.  Agents also noticed neither of the refrigerators on the vehicles were on.

Agents further learned that Parker purchased the 60 sacks of oysters.  The oysters had white tags depicting they were intended for raw consumption.  When agents checked the temperature of the trucks with the stored oysters they were both at 69 degrees.  Oyster sacks with white tags for raw consumption are to be stored and delivered at 45 degrees or lower.

Agents seized a total of 60 sacks of oysters and retuned them to the water.  Agents also issued a seizure order for the tractor and trailer used in conjunction with the violation.

Violating the refrigeration code for oysters brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Edward Ridgel and Lt. Louis Burnett.

Two Men Cited for Possessing 52 Red Drum in Terrebonne Parish

Release Date: 01/12/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two men for alleged recreational fishing violations on Jan. 10 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents cited Danny Parnia, 52, and Ryan A. Pellegrin, 38, both of Houma, for possessing over the limit and undersized red drum.

Agents were on patrol and stopped a vessel for a license and creel compliance check in the lower Dulac area.  Agents found the two subjects in possession of 52 red drum with only nine of legal size.  This put the men 42 red drum over their daily possession limit of five per person.

Possessing over the limit of red drum brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possessing undersized red drum carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  The men will also be subject to a fine of $25 per red drum that were over the legal limit bringing a total fine of $1,025.  Civil restitution may also be assessed for the illegally taken red drum totaling $1,111.74.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Bryan Marie and Senior Agent Norman Deroche.

Five Men Cited for Oyster Violations in Terrebonne Parish

Release Date: 01/12/2017

In two separate cases Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited five men for alleged oyster violations on Jan. 10 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents cited Christopher P. Luke, 44, of Houma, and Rocky L. Rel, 37, from Thibodaux, for taking oysters from a polluted area in Sister Lake.  Agents also cited Dustin M. Buquet, 19, Cline J. Ledet, 30, and Homer Pinos-Mazariegos, 20, all from Chauvin for taking oysters from a polluted area, failing to have written permission and unlawfully taking oysters from a private lease in Bay Souri.

While responding to Sister Lake complaints, agents observed Luke and Rel taking oysters north of the lake, which is closed to harvesting.  In a separate case agents also found Buquet, Ledet and Pinos-Mazariegos taking oysters from Bay Souri, which is also closed to harvesting.  The three men in Bay Souri were also harvesting oysters on a private lease without written permission.

Agents seized a total of 30 sacks of oysters and retuned them to the water.  Agents also seized the vessels and gear used in the illegal activity on a department seizure order.

Taking oysters from a polluted area and unlawfully taking oysters from a private lease each carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  The men could also have their oyster harvester licenses revoked by the department for up to one year, sentenced to perform 40 hours of community service and only be allowed to harvest oysters from a vessel with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year.

Failing to have written permission carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Bryan Marie and Senior Agent Norman Deroche.

Ponchatoula Man Arrested for Unauthorized Use of a Vessel

Release Date: 01/11/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested a Ponchatoula man on Jan. 9 for allegedly using a vessel without authorization.

Agents arrested Blake A. Mitchell, 31, for felony unauthorized use of a moveable.

The arrest stems from an investigation that began Nov. 9, 2016 in Venice located in Plaquemines Parish.  Agents were notified about an airboat being removed without the owner’s consent from a camp in Cypress Cove Marina.

The vessels owner reported that the lock and license plate were removed and the vessel’s ignition was removed and replaced.  Agents later stopped Mitchell in the area of Buras where the vessel was being used for hog hunting and towing his own disabled airboat across the Mississippi River.

Agents then received video surveillance of Mitchell’s truck towing the vessel in the early morning hours of Nov. 8, 2016 from two separate security systems.  Agents the secured warrants and arrested Mitchell at the Jefferson Parish Courthouse where he was answering to unrelated wildlife charges on Jan. 9, 2017.

Felony unauthorized use of a moveable having a value in excess of $500 brings up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Adam Young, Sgt. Villere Reggio and Senior Agent Patrick Dempsey.

Fundraising efforts ongoing for Wildlife agent Tyler Wheeler

Release Date: 01/11/2017

Fundraising efforts ongoing for Wildlife agent Tyler Wheeler

There is now a t-shirt selling campaign and special fund established to help Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler’s family with medical bills and expenses.

Wheeler is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds suffered while making a traffic stop early Saturday morning. The 25-year-old agent was shot in the arm, shoulder, jaw and head. Two people have been arrested in connection with the shooting.

According to a recent Facebook entry, Wheeler’s father, Darren Wheeler posted “Thanks for everything and all the prayers. That old saying, ‘Do you believe in miracles?’ I guess he (Tyler Wheeler) is answering our question.”

According to the Monroe News Star newspaper, over $21,000 has been raised through the t-shirt selling campaign. Shirts can be ordered, according to the newspaper, until Jan. 23 and will arrive Feb. 8. Prices vary based on the style ordered. For more information regarding the fundraiser, visit www.booster.com/tylerwheeler

A fund has also been established by the Louisiana Wildlife Agents’ Association, a nonprofit corporation which seeks to protect and promote the welfare and interest of all classified commissioned wildlife agents, active or retired.


The account is set up under the LWAA c/o Tyler Wheeler. According the newspaper, anyone who wants to donated can visit any Capital One location and make a deposit to account number 2082047754. Funds generated will be used to assist with medical expenses incurred by the Wheeler family.

Single Vessel Boating Incident Claims Life of Pierre Part Man

Release Date: 01/10/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a boating fatality in Assumption Parish.

The boating fatality occurred in the Belle River sometime before 9 p.m. on Jan. 9 and claimed the life of Aaron Vickrey, 31, of Pierre Part.

Agents were notified around 9 p.m. of a single boating incident.  It appears at this time that Vickrey was travelling south in a 16-foot aluminum vessel in the Belle River before striking a pier ejecting him from the vessel.  Witnesses were able to recover Vickrey’s body from the water and to the shore where they were able to call 911 for help.

When emergency medical personnel arrived Vickrey was unconscious and attempts to bring him back were unsuccessful.  Vickrey’s body was turned over to the Assumption Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.  Vickrey was not wearing a personal flotation device at the time of this boating incident.

Update from Interim Secretary Patrick Banks Regarding LDWF Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler

Release Date: 01/09/2017

Today at a joint press conference in Quachita Parish with Gov. John Bel Edwards, State Police Colonel Michael Edmonson and other law enforcement officials, LDWF Interim Secretary Patrick Banks provided an update on LDWF Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler.

“Everyone at our agency is praying for Senior Agent Wheeler and his family.  We are all stunned by this cowardly act and very proud of the law enforcement team bringing the suspects to justice,” said Interim LDWF Secretary Patrick Banks.

“We received some good news this morning by Agent Wheeler’s father.   He is responding well to treatment, and is able to respond to the commands of his family and hospital staff by making movements and squeezing hands."

“Our agency is strong, and is built on these brave men and women who protect us all.  The whole of our agency, brave enforcement agents, talented scientists and dedicated public servants are praying with that strength for Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler today.  We are grateful for his service."


“We are pleased with the progress and recovery of Senior Agent Wheeler, we will continue our work to ensure he and his family get the justice they deserve,” said LDWF Col. Joey Broussard.

Suspect Who Shot LDWF Agent Arrested for Attempted 1st Degree Murder

Release Date: 01/08/2017

Amethyst Baird

On Saturday, January 7, 2017 a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent was shot in the line of duty while on patrol in Morehouse Parish.

Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler was shot multiple times during a vehicle stop on US 165 in Morehouse Parish just north of the Ouachita Parish line.

Louisiana State Police Detectives began investigating the shooting and evidence was quickly discovered that lead to the arrest of 31-year-old Amethyst Baird of Monroe.  Baird was charged and booked into the Ouachita Correctional Center on one count of Attempted 1st Degree Murder of a Police Officer for the shooting of Senior Agent Wheeler.

Also, during the course of this investigation, it was discovered that 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette of Monroe, LA assisted Baird in this crime.  Gullette was charged and booked at the Ouachita Correctional Center on one count of Accessory After the Fact to Attempted 1st Degree Murder.

“We are very pleased that the suspected shooter and her accomplice are in custody at this time.” said LDWF Col. Joey Broussard.  “Now we hope that Senior Agent Wheeler continues his recovery progress and that he and his family get the justice they deserve for this senseless shooting.”

Senior Agent Wheeler is listed in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit of the LSU Health Shreveport Trauma Center.

Louisiana State Police is handling the investigation into the shooting with assistance from the LDWF Enforcement Division.

Wheeler has been an LDWF agent for two and a half years and is married with one child.

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