LaPLACE, La. (AP) — Two sheriff's deputies in Louisiana were shot to death and at least two others were injured in an early morning shootout west of New Orleans, authorities said Thursday.
Two suspects are in custody, and officers are searching for a third.
Louisiana State Police Trooper Melissa Matey said the two dead St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff's deputies were working off duty to manage traffic along Louisiana Highway 3217, which connects U.S. Highway 61 with a strip of chemical and oil refineries and steel plants along River Road near the Mississippi River.
State police did not identify the deputies or the suspects.
What sparked the incident wasn't clear, though authorities planned a press briefing later Thursday morning.
The shooting occurred around 5:30 a.m. in a parking lot used by workers in the area about 20 miles west of New Orleans, near the line between St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes. A massive grain port also is nearby.
Bill Day, spokesman for Valero Energy Corp., said the deputies were providing security for an off-site parking lot used by contractors working at the Valero St. Charles Refinery.
Day said operations at the refinery had not been affected. Valero employees were being asked to report to work as normal, unless they park at the lot where the incident took place.
Some other plants in the area were letting non-essential workers in the area leave for the day or were telling them not to report for work as the search continued.