VILLE PLATTE — Authorities in Oklahoma on Wednesday shot and wounded an escaped inmate suspected in a Tuesday morning bank robbery in Evangeline Parish, officials said during a news conference in Ville Platte.
Trooper Stephen Hammons, spokesman for Louisiana State Police, said the U.S. Marshals Service Metro Fugitive Task Force in Oklahoma spotted Brian Keith Soileau at a Walmart store in Norman, Okla., north of Oklahoma City.
Soileau fled in a pickup believed to be the same vehicle he used after robbing the Guaranty Bank in Vidrine on Tuesday morning, Hammons said.
Soileau led the Metro Fugitive Task Force and Oklahoma Highway Patrol on a 35- to 45-minute pursuit, by vehicle and on foot, that ended with an exchange of gunfire, Hammons said.
Soileau was struck and was taken to a hospital where he remains in serious condition, Hammons said.
The incident occurred shortly before noon Wednesday, Hammons said.
“The chase is over,” said Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau, who said he is not related to the fugitive. “I hope the people of Evangeline Parish feel a little safer today.”
Soileau had remained on the loose since Oct. 13, when he escaped from the Pine Prairie Correctional Center, a private facility owned by LCS Corrections Services.
Soileau was serving time for aggravated burglary, State Police have said.
He faced numerous other pending charges in unrelated matters, authorities said.
Sheriff Soileau expressed disappointment and concern about the inmate’s escape from the privately owned facility.
“We will do an investigation,” the sheriff said, adding that LCS has assured him that changes have been made and that “things are more secure there.”
The sheriff said he plans to personally inspect those changes.
The escape, bank robbery and Soileau’s apprehension in Oklahoma all remain under investigation, Hammons said.
More than 15 law enforcement agencies and 100 law enforcement personnel assisted during the nearly two-week search for Soileau, Hammons said.
At least one person is suspected of having helped Brian Soileau while he was out, Sheriff Soileau said.
The fugitive has been on the department’s radar for some time, said Sheriff Soileau, who called the fugitive a “thorn in the side.”
The Sheriff’s Office initially arrested Brian Soileau on counts of armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, illegal use of weapons, resisting an officer by force, theft of a motor vehicle, aggravated burglary, theft of a firearm and criminal damage to property in connection with the August robbery of Citizen’s Bank in Pine Prairie.
Soileau’s wife, Anna Laurie Soileau, also was arrested in connection with the robbery.
She remains in jail, Sheriff Soileau said.
About two weeks before the August bank robbery, Brian Soileau stole a backhoe and used it to tear down the front of a store to get to an ATM inside, Sheriff Soileau said.
“The ATM was not taken because it was bolted to the concrete,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff said Soileau will eventually be extradited to Evangeline Parish.
Once here, “he will be locked down and isolated,” the sheriff said.