Donations continue to pour in for the family of New Sarpy resident Brandon Nielsen, who was one of two deputies killed in a shooting last week in LaPlace that made headlines across the nation.
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. last Thursday. 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 Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre.
The deputies were questioning a man in a nearby trailer when they noticed a second man inside. They had asked both men to step outside when a third man, armed with an assault weapon, jumped out of the trailer and began firing.
Triche also died in the attack.
Since Nielsen’s death, members of the community have stepped up to offer his family money, food and prayers. In a recent Facebook post, Nielsen’s wife Daniell said she is extremely grateful for the support she and her family have received.
“As empty as my heart is at this time, I am so overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of this entire community. People whom I have never met are making sure we are taken care of,” she wrote. “It saddens my heart to know that my husband worked so hard and was always worried about supporting us and now, in his death, he needs not worry any longer.”
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.
St. Charles Parish Councilwoman Wendy Benedetto has been friends with Daniell for 15 years. Benedetto was actually on her way to see Daniell, who owns Bliss nail salon in Destrehan, when she got a heartbreaking call.
“I actually had an appointment to see her at 8:30 (Thursday) 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 Brandon put his family first.
“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 began collecting food items for the family the day of the tragedy. Since that time she has also collected 25 envelopes filled with cash for the Nielsens.
Benedetto will begin collecting food again next week at her Latter & Blum office in Destrehan.
In addition, monetary donations can be made in Nielsen’s name at any First American or Capital One bank.
Though the support of the community has helped the Nielsen family, Daniell knows that their journey will not be easy.
“I can’t even fathom it at this moment, but I am comforted by the fact we will be together again someday,” she said.
Daniell said that her and Brandon’s daughter, Lily, has told her not to cry because her daddy is in Heaven and can have anything he wants.
“I know what he wanted most…for his family to be taken care of,” Daniell said. “I am so grateful to each and every one of you. Everything you have all done fills my heart with hope.”