Gulfport man found guilty of shooting St. Charles deputy

Devillier faces up to 50 years in prison

After 2-1/2 hours of deliberation, a jury found John Paul Devillier guilty Tuesday (Feb. 14) of the 2015 attempted first-degree murder of a St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s deputy.

Devillier, 60, a St. Charles Parish native who was living in Gulfport at the time of the shooting, was arrested after firing 20 rounds at a St. Charles Parish deputy who was directing traffic in a Paradis school zone.

The deputy, Cpl. Burt Hazeltine, was hit three times. His injuries left him blind in his left eye.

District Attorney Joel Chaisson II said Devillier faces a sentence of minimum 20 years and up to 50 years in prison. Any sentence imposed will be with the Louisiana Department of Department of Corrections at hard labor.

“I am extremely pleased with the verdict that was handed down today,” Chaisson said. “Cpl. Burt Hazeltine is an exceptional police officer, a devoted husband and father and his life will be forever impacted by the injuries inflicted upon him by John Devillier. Cpl. Hazeltine is an invaluable asset to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office and I admire and respect his dedication and commitment to public service.”

Chaisson added, “This conviction would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the lead prosecutor on this case, Connie Aucoin, whose dogged determination and relentless pursuit for justice in this case were unparalleled.”

The incident began when Devillier attempted to turn left on Louisiana Street. He pulled into a nearby Time Saver parking lot and began to argue with Hazeltine, according to the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office.

“Devillier was upset because the deputy did not stop the traffic allowing him to turn,” Sheriff Greg Champagne said.

After arguing with Hazeltine, Devillier left the parking lot and went to his father’s house a few blocks away for a few minutes where he called the Sheriff’s Office and told the chief deputy that he was an NCIS agent. He demanded the sheriff come to the parking lot and the deputy hung up.

Devillier then summoned Hazeltine to his vehicle and, as the deputy approached, observed a weapon on the dashboard of the man’s truck.

“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,” according to the Sheriff’s Office. “

“The guy just opened fire and hit the deputy multiple times,” Capt. Pat Yoes, Sheriff’s Office spokesman said.

Hazeltine was able to return fire, striking the subject’s vehicle.

”Although struck by three bullets – one in the eye, elbow and chest – the deputy was still able to radio in for assistance,” according to the sheriff. Two good Samaritans helped pull him behind a vehicle.

The verdict capped a six-day jury trial, according to Chaisson. The 12-member jury returned a unanimous verdict.

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