Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards spoke at a press conference in Monroe on Monday morning, about the shooting of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler. Edwards praised the swift action of law enforcement authorities in locating and arresting the suspect in the shooting. Amethyst Baird of Monroe has been charged in connection with the shooting.
On what was coincidently Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in Louisiana, Edwards began by saying, "I'd like to start out by saying my thoughts and prayers are with Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler and his family during this difficult time." Edwards said he spoke with Wheeler's wife over the weekend and pledged the full support of all the resources available through the state of Louisiana.
Edwards thanked the Louisiana State Police (LSP), LDWF, and the Sheriffs of Morehouse, Ouachita, and Richland Parish, that were all in attendance at the press conference. He thanked them for their professionalism and effectiveness in handling the aftermath and the investigation of the shooting of Wheeler.
"It's a partnership of federal, state and local agencies that made this happen," Edwards said. "The effectiveness of those partnerships has been demonstrated in this instance." Noting that the investigation is still ongoing, Edwards said, "The bottom line analysis is that this was good old fashioned police work done by professional law enforcement officials."
"Wheeler is a father, husband, son and dedicated public servant, that is doing a job that he loves for the people that he loves, in this community and in this state," Edwards said.
"Violence against our law enforcement officers will not be tolerated in the state of Louisiana," Edwards added. Saying that this is not only a crime against Wheeler, but against the very fabric of the state. Edwards said that the shooting infuriated him.
Patrick Banks, Interim Secretary the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for Louisiana called the shooting a "cowardly act." He also updated those present about Wheeler conditions stating that he is responding well to treatment, making movements and squeezing hands of those that speak to him. He is able to follow all commands, and is only not able to speak because of tubes in is throat.
"Our agency is strong, it is built on these brave men and women who protect us all, in addition to talented scientist and dedicated public servants. The whole of our agency, as strong as it is, we are praying for Tyler Wheeler today," Banks said.
"This is a complicated case it is far from over, with a lot of moving parts," Colonel Mike Edmonson of LSP said. Edmondson also stated that a Crime stoppers tip helped law enforcement to make progress in the case. He also added that the weapon used has been recovered.
Morehouse Parish Sheriff Mike Tubbs, thanked Edwards and the other agency heads gathered for their assistance in the shooting that occurred in Morehouse Parish.
"Governor, we appreciate the emphasis that you put on law enforcement, we know that you always have our backs." Tubbs told Edwards. "I appreciate all you guys that surround us," Tubbs said. "We do depend on you each and every day."