Booking photo of deputy-shooting suspect released

Published 10:16 am Friday, April 17, 2015

PARADIS — The Gulfport, Miss., man accused of shooting St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Burt Hazeltine in the elbow, eye and chest as he was directing traffic Thursday morning is facing charges of attempted first degree murder of a peace officer, resisting an officer by force and two counts of battery of a peace officer.

The charges against suspected shooter John Paul Devillier, along with his booking photo, were released Friday morning by the Sheriff’s Office.

“On behalf of the men and women of The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, I wish to express our heartfelt thanks for the tremendous outpouring of support and prayers we received from both here and afar (Thursday),” Sheriff Greg Champagne said on Facebook Thursday.

“Corporal Hazeltine is in surgery at this time and will likely have to have more. We are optimistic that he will survive this attack, but he and his wife and four children continue to need all of our prayers.

“As I addressed the night shift late this afternoon, I conveyed to them that, despite this senseless act, this community as a whole supports us. Many, I fear, may be questioning their career choice. Why does this happen to someone just doing their job?

“Without effective law enforcement, our civilization will surely crumble and fall into chaos. We know the vast majority of you understand this and we truly thank you.”

The shooting took place Thursday at approximately 8:50 a.m. on U.S. 90 near Louisiana Street in Paradis.

Sheriff’s Office officials called the shooting an “ambush.”

Champagne said Hazeltine was working a traffic detail, where he was assisting school buses in making safe turns off of U.S. 90 for J.B. Martin Middle School.

Devillier, 58, who was staying in a motel in Gulfport, was driving a 2014 Chevy Silverado westbound on U.S. 90 attempting to turn on Louisiana Street.

When the traffic cleared, he turned onto Louisiana Street and pulled in to the Time Saver parking lot and began to argue with Hazeltine, Champagne said. Devillier was upset because the deputy did not stop the traffic allowing him to turn.

“The subject then went to his father’s home only blocks away for a few minutes and then returned to Time Saver,” Champagne said. “While at his father’s house and en route to Time Saver, he called the Sheriff’s Office to speak to the Sheriff, at which time he spoke to the Chief Deputy.”

At the Time Saver, Devillier called for the deputy to come to his vehicle. As the deputy approached the truck, he observed a weapon on the dashboard, Champagne said.

“Cpl. Hazeltine immediately drew his service weapon and demanded he show his hands, at which time the subject held the gun upside down out of the window while at the same time fired several shots at the deputy with a second gun in his right hand through the windshield,” Champagne said.

“Although shot several times, Cpl. Hazeltine was able to return fire, striking the subject’s vehicle and radioing in for assistance.

“Responding deputies confronted the subject sitting in his truck, at which time he threw the weapons out of his vehicle.”

Deputies removed Devillier from his vehicle and took him into custody.

Hazeltine was taken to University Hospital, where, as of press time, he was listed in stable, but guarded condition. Hazeltine is a 12-year veteran with the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office and is married with four children.