NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Fire trucks, fellow deputies and even neighbors lined the street Wednesday to welcome home a man many consider lucky to be alive.
"Well we feel blessed. It's nothing less than a miracle. He went through a lot," said St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Capt. Pat Yoes.
Corp. Burt Hazeltine is finally home with his wife and four children after what the sheriff calls an ambush while he directed traffic in a school zone last week.
"You certainly don't expect someone to get that irate to pull their car over and start shooting. This is shocking for everyone involved. Not only does it not happen here, but that kind of scenario shouldn't happen anywhere," Yoes said.
Hazeltine was shot in the chest, arm and face, and there's still a bullet fragment lodged between his eye socket and nasal passage.
"It actually caused him to lose his eyesight in one of his eyes. The question now is will there be a long road ahead of him with specialists to see what his options are to try and regain his eyesight," Yoes said.
The 12-year veteran is described as a devoted father and husband and a dedicated member of law enforcement. Yoes said Hazeltine's actions at the scene of the ambush speaks volumes about his character.
"This was a person who was shot three times and notified dispatch to let the school board know to have buses divert from the area so that children wouldn't be affected by it. In addition to that, you had people rushing to his aid and he was telling them to get away. It's not safe yet," Yoes said.
The St. Charles Parish community and even people from around the country began to support the deputy. A porch lamp vigil campaign even started online with a Facebook page - "Lights on for Corporal Burt Hazeltine."
"There was a movement to have blue lights on everyone's porch, and if you could get one, good for you because it doesn't mean that you didn't want one. They sold out everywhere," Yoes said.
Hazeltine posted on his Facebook page, "I am home!! By the hand of GOD just 5 days after I was shot, I am home. I want to thank everyone who helped with the incident. Every photo of a blue light really touched me. I know I had blue lights from Georgia to Alaska."
The Sheriff's Office will host a fundraiser for Hazeltine Thursday at the Shriners Hall in Destrehan.