Officials say an officer was wounded in an initial shooting in a parking lot near the Valero Complex when a gunman opened fire.
St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Trege says two of his officers were later killed at a trailer park as they were questioning suspects possibly involved in the earlier shooting.
In an emotional news conference, Trege identified the dead deputies as Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche.
According to the Sheriff, at least five people are in custody related to the two shootings.
The Sheriff described the shooting at the trailer park as "an ambush" by one or more of the suspects using an AK-47 rifle.
Click HERE to listen to the news conference with Sheriff Mike Trege.
Trege said that the area is secure and that the investigation is being turned over to the State Police.
The first shooting happened near Bayou Steel on Highway 3217 in a Valero plant parking lot. The parking lot is located in St. John Parish, while the Valero plant itself is located in St. Charles Parish.
A witness on the scene called WWL First News and said that he heard "seven or eight shots" when it happened. The witness said it appeared a police vehicle had been shot multiple times.
Listen to the call from that witness:
Police officers from several parishes were involved in the hunt for the gunman, including State Police, and deputies from Charles Parish, St. John Parish, and Jefferson Parish.
One deputy was air-lifted to the hospital, according to a witness.
Emily C. Watkins Elementary, located on River Road, is closed for teachers and students today.
Valero Energy released the following statement:
This morning there was a shooting involving law enforcement officers providing security at an off-site parking lot used by contractors working at the Valero St. Charles Refinery. Valero employees offer their thoughts and prayers to the officers and the families of the officers involved in the shooting. Refinery operations have not been affected. The incident remains under investigation, and questions about the incident itself should be referred to local law enforcement. Any contractor who normally parks in the Montz lot should not report to work today. All other employees and contractors should report as scheduled.
Another nearby facility, ArcelorMittal Laplace, also remains under lockdown. Employees are asked to call the ArcelorMittal Laplace information line at 888-880-3677 for more information on reporting to work and plant status.