Wounded deputy Hazeltine released from hospital

Published 6:45 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DESTREHAN — Residents of the greater River Region and beyond are doing what they can to support a St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy recovering from a brutal shooting last week.

Cpl. Burt Hazeltine was shot three times Thursday morning after authorities said he got into a disagreement with a motorist.

Hazeltine was shot in the elbow, eye and chest.

Sheriff Greg Champagne said Hazeltine has gone through multiple surgeries, and on Sunday walked back and forth to the nurses’ station and sat in a real chair a few times.

Medical officials are still determining if they can save the vision in Hazeltine’s right eye, Champagne said.

“Even with multiple gunshot wounds, Cpl. Hazeltine was able to return fire, but also radio vital information for other responding officers,” Champagne said of his deputy’s actions Thursday morning. “One of his first comments on the police radio was to advise dispatch to alert the School Board to divert school buses from the area. That speaks volumes to the caliber of officer Corporal Hazeltine is.”

Champagne announced Tuesday Hazeltine was released from the hospital to continue his recovery at home.

“We thank everyone for your prayers and support,” he said.

Hazeltine’s valor has resonated with community members, who have organized numerous fundraisers and offered countless signs of support.

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office is hosting a benefit lunch and dinner for the Hazeltine family from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Shriner’s Hall, 1940 Ormond Blvd. in Destrehan.

For $10, participants can choose between three plate choices: barbecue pork, baked beans and cole slaw; fried catfish, bake beans and cole slaw; or a hamburger and fries. Lunches of 12 or more can be delivered in St. Charles Parish between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m..

Call 985-783-1355 to place an order. Organizers said all proceeds will benefit the Hazeltine family.

Entertainment will be provided between 5 and 8 p.m.

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office and the St. Charles Fraternal Order of Police No. 15 have also joined together to establish a benefit fund for Hazeltine through the Louisiana FOP Foundation.

Donations are tax deductible, and organizers said 100 percent of all donations will be delivered to Hazeltine.

Those interested can contribute to the fund at giveback.org.

St. Charles United Methodist Church officials announced they are sponsoring a benefit jambalaya lunch and dinner for Hazeltine May 1.

“Prayers are the most important thing you can offer up for Burt (Hazeltine) and his family, so we ask that you continue to lift them all up,” said Mary Anne Schindler of St. Charles United Methodist Church. “Burt and his family are very dear to us. He grew up in our church and went to school with our children. His parents and brother are still very active in our church, Matthew 25:35 Food Pantry and Choir. It is a privilege to be able to help in this small way.”

For more information, call 985-764-8292.

Bond was set Friday at $1 million for John Paul Devillier, the Gulfport, Miss., man arrested by police immediately after Hazeltine’s shooting and accused as the only person involved in the violent encounter.

Devillier, 58, is next expected in court May 19. Devillier is facing a charge of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of battery of a peace officer and resisting an officer by force.

Following the shooting, Champagne made sure to recognize what he called “the great work of all of our deputies and detectives,” especially the courage of Lt. Roddy Landry, Lt. Rory Champagne and Corporal Jose Alvarenga.

“These three deputies were the first to arrive on the scene and showed great courage in subduing and arresting the perpetrator and shooter of their brother officer with great skill,” he said. “Their quick and decisive action may well have prevented further bloodshed in this violent incident. We thank all of them. We also wish to thank local EMTs who arrived and quickly began working on Corporal Burt Hazeltine.”

Hazeltine is a 12-year veteran with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office and is married to Mandy Hazeltine, and they have four children.


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

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 was driving a 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.

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.

“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.