Flags at half-staff Thursday show a community in mourning. Two deputies died serving their community Wednesday morning, while two others continue to for their lives in the hospital.
Jeremy Triche would have turned 28 on Monday. Instead, his family is grieving his death. Friends said Triche was a dedicated family man who spent four years serving in the St. John Sheriff's office. He leaves behind a wife and a two-year-old son.
“He was a great guy, great husband. I've known his wife for a long time. We grew up together,” said Jeff Benoit, a family friend.
Devastated family members said Triche's childhood home is several hundred feet from where he was gunned down. His parents heard the shots ring out.
It's a tragedy that has shaken the close-knit St. John community to the core. At St. Charles Catholic School, Principal Andrew Cupit remembered Triche's days as a student and standout athlete.
“His dedication, his smile, his willingness to work hard, and his commitment. I know he loved his job. He was excited about being in the sheriff's department,” said Cupit.
It was a job Triche was excited about and ultimately, died doing.
He was killed alongside Brandon Nielsen, 34, a longtime law enforcement officer throughout Southeast Louisiana who had been serving as a deputy St. John Parish for nearly two years. Nielsen leaves behind a wife and five children.
“It's a shame to anybody. He loved his family. You don't want to see somebody [lose] their father figure. It's already a rough world,” said David Napier.
Napier worked with Nielsen several years ago in the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office, and continued to see him regularly in the restaurant Napier now runs.
“He wasn't a bad guy. Certainly didn't deserve anything like this,” said Napier.
Meanwhile, those who knew the dedicated men remain stunned.
“Not in this parish, that's what everybody thought. We're like, "Wow, wouldn't think it would happen in this parish,'” said Napier.