One of the St. John the Baptist Parish deputies killed during a shooting this morning in LaPlace was a New Sarpy resident.
Brandon Nielsen, 34, was killed while investigating an earlier shooting that took place in the LaPlace parking lot of Valero St. Charles refinery at around 5 a.m. this morning. Nielsen and fellow deputy Jeremy Triche had located a car that matched the description of a vehicle used in the shooting at the Riverview Trailer Park, according to St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre.
Nielsen and Triche questioned a man in a nearby trailer when they noticed a second man inside. They had asked both men to come outside when a third man, armed with an assault weapon, jumped out of the trailer and began firing.
Triche also died in the attack.
St. Charles Parish Councilwoman Wendy Benedetto has been friends with Nielsen’s wife, Daniell, for 15 years. Together, the Nielsen’s took care of five children. Three of the children are Daniell’s from a previous relationship, while Nielsen also had a child from a previous relationship. The couple had one child together.
Benedetto said that Daniell had previously owned Moccachinos in Destrehan and is the current owner of Bliss, a nail salon, in Destrehan.
“I actually had an appointment to see her at 8:30 this morning when I got the call that her husband was killed,” Benedetto said. “I have never had something like this happen to any of my friends.
“It’s such a terrible tragedy.”
Leslie Cooper, from Luling, said she grew up with Daniell and that the two are like family.
"My heart is so heavy, it is hard to think. Brandon was a great guy, a loving husband, and wonderful daddy," she said. "He will be missed by all of us who knew him."
Benedetto is currently collecting items for the Nielsen family at the Latter & Blum office located next to Rotolo’s in Destrehan. Benedetto said donations of items such as money, food and drinks are appreciated.
Benedetto will store the items at her office and bring them to the Nielsen family.
In addition, an account is being set up at any First American Bank to accept monetary donations.
Authorities in St. John have arrested five men in connection with the two shootings, according to St. Charles Parish Maj. Sam Zinna. There are currently no suspects at large.
Zinna said that Nielsen was a former St. Charles Parish deputy.