ST. FRANCISVILLE — State Police detectives do not suspect anyone else was involved in the fatal shooting of a Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agent near the Mississippi River early Friday, a State Police spokesman said.
“We don’t want the community to be alarmed that there’s someone out there that they need to be worried about,” Lt. Doug Cain said Friday afternoon.
West Feliciana Parish Sheriff J. Austin Daniel, State Police and Wildlife and Fisheries spokesmen said Friday morning the fatal shooting of Sgt. Paul Stuckey, 47, of Zachary, was being treated as a homicide in the initial stages of the investigation as a matter of protocol.
Cain said later that forensic experts were examining the evidence, including Stuckey’s weapons, to determine the exact circumstances of the shooting.
Daniel said a fisherman going to a boat launch on the river discovered Stuckey’s body lying beside his patrol truck at about 7 a.m.
Stuckey’s truck was parked on a road atop a levee that protects a concrete mat-casting plant owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The shooting occurred several hundred yards from the road that leads to the former ferry landing.
Capt. Cliff Comeaux of the Wildlife and Fisheries Department said Stuckey notified a department dispatcher by radio that he was leaving his residence about 2:30 a.m. to investigate a complaint of night hunters in the area.
A Wildlife and Fisheries news release says Stuckey was found with a shotgun wound to his chest. All of the victim’s duty weapons were recovered, the spokesmen said.
Stuckey, an 18-year Enforcement Division agent, is survived by his wife and three children.
“It’s a sad day for law enforcement in the state of Louisiana and in West Feliciana Parish, particularly,” Daniel told reporters near the scene.
Comeaux said Stuckey’s death is a “sobering reminder of how dangerous” a wildlife agent’s job is, especially when the agents “go out at night without any backup.”
“Our hearts go out to the Sgt. Stuckey family, and his extended family of fellow agents will be there to help them through this tough time,” said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the Enforcement Division.
“Every day our agents go out to be sure laws of Louisiana are enforced and that we’re all safe in the outdoors, and our prayer every day is that they will return safely to their families. We are so sad today that one of ours will not return safely,” Department Secretary Robert Barham said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are for his family, his fellow agents and all law enforcement across the state,” Barham said.
Comeaux and Daniel said many agents receive complaints about game and fish violations from people they know.
Stuckey is the sixth Enforcement Division agent to be killed in the line of duty since 1991 and the first since Jim Matkin was killed in March 2005 when he lost control of his vehicle in Concordia Parish. Like Stuckey, Matlin was on patrol in predawn hours.
Stuckey graduated from the department’s Enforcement Division Academy in May 1993 and was assigned to Avoyelles Parish.
He was promoted to senior agent in 1994, transferred to East Feliciana Parish in 1996, and then to East Baton Rouge Parish in 2004. He earned his current rank in 2005 and his work covered the Baton Rouge area.
Stuckey was among Enforcement Division agents honored by the state of Louisiana for “meritorious service” during search-and-rescue operations during and after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Gustav and Ike in 2008.
He also received a LDWF Employee Recognition Award in 2005 for his work with the Baton Rouge Region’s DWI team.