BATON ROUGE, La. — A Baton Rouge sheriff's deputy who survived a 2016 ambush that killed three other law enforcement officers died on Thursday.
Nick Tullier's family confirmed his death on Thursday, writing on their Facebook page that "God has gained his best angel this morning."
East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said he was "heartbroken" to learn of Tullier's death.
"Nick’s injury was a result of his selfless actions to courageously answer the call to protect and serve," Gautreaux said. "For nearly six years he has defied all odds in recovery through his unwavering tenacity. I have no doubt, that he was also greatly carried by the love, prayers and faith of his family, friends and colleagues."
Earlier this week, Tullier's family said that doctors did not know "how much time he had left" and that his condition had turned critical due to a worsening infection.
Tullier was shot in the head, stomach and shoulder during an ambush in Baton Rouge in 2016. Investigators say the attacker specifically targeted law enforcement officers in the shooting.
On the Sunday morning of the shooting, Tullier was working the day shift for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. Less than two weeks had passed since a white Baton Rouge police officer shot and killed Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man. Racial tensions in the city were still simmering.
Tullier and another deputy were eating breakfast when they heard a radio call about an armed man near a convenience store about a mile away. Gavin Long, a 29-year-old black military veteran from Kansas City, Missouri, had already fatally wounded two Baton Rouge police officers and a sheriff’s deputy by the time Tullier and Sgt. Bruce Simmons arrived, according to a district attorney’s report .
Once on the scene, Tullier checked on an empty rental car, unaware it was the gunman’s. He was walking back to his patrol vehicle when Long shot him in the stomach from nearby woods. Long shot him twice more after he climbed into his vehicle.
Doctors initially feared that he would die within hours, then later warning that his brain damage could leave him in a vegetative state for the rest of the life. Tullier defied the odds and was able to regain consciousness, though he still was paralyzed due to the injuries.