Local pastors, NAACP groups want answers about shooting death

Published 7:54 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2016

BEAUMONT — Much information about Shalala Fletcher has been released to the public.

She was a black female and a mother.

She was 36 and lived in Beaumont.

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She was petite at 5 feet 4 inches and weighing 95 pounds.

She was a passenger in her own car when her companions allegedly stole beer from Express Mart, 2920 Jimmy Johnson Blvd. on July 2. Autopsy results show she had cocaine, marijuana and Xanax in her system.

She died from a gunshot wound to the torso — the bullet being one of 11 that were fired at the car by a former security guard, not working for the store, while trying to disable the car before it left with the stolen beer.

It’s the unknown that prompted local pastors and branches of the NAACP to hold a press conference outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont on Tuesday.

The Rev. Randy Vaughn read a statement to media with questions about the legal handling of the case.

“Will this shooter be investigated pursuant to standard policing protocol? Will the evidence or lack of evidence be presented to the grand jury pursuant to normal processes and procedures? Was there a crime of such magnitude that it justified an individual to take a life by firing 11 rounds of bullets into a car?” Vaughn said.

The name of the former security guard has not been released by either law enforcement or the district attorney’s office, another issue surrounding the case that baffles the group.

Kalan Gardner, president of the Port Arthur branch of the NAACP, said the organization is behind the effort to see justice for Shalala Fletcher.

“Everyone’s rights have been upheld except that of the deceased,” Gardner said.

Paul Jones, president of the Beaumont branch of the NAACP, recalled the nation’s issues between police and the African American community. The community, he said, deserves answers.

“Someone walks out of a store and someone hollers that they stole something,” Jones said, adding that a man took out his gun and shoots 11 times and kills a person. “We are demanding answers. How long do we have to wait? We need answers and need them soon.”

The group was also joined by members of People’s Political Action Committee and the Rev. Airon Reynolds.

“It’s been since July 2. That’s long enough for answers to be made,” Reynolds said.

The Rev. Lloyd Scott of Port Arthur said the group as a whole has met with city leaders and the acting police chief twice and with the district attorney’s office once.

“Basically information cannot be shared because the case is under investigation,” Scott said.

Scott said the group wanted to hold the press conference before the case goes to the grand jury in the hopes that all evidence is looked at.

One stickler to the case is Texas Penal Code 9.42, deadly force to protect property which states a person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, moveable property to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime or criminal mischief during the nighttime and to prevent the other from fleeing immediately after one of the above crimes with the property.

The penal code also states the shooter must reasonably believe the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or the use of force other than deadly to protect and recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

The Rev. Donald Frank of Port Arthur said the groups also wonder about the “good neighbor” penal code, as it is nicknamed and if criminal negligence comes into play.

Next for the group is to wait and see what happens with the grand jury.

Mary Meaux: 409-721-2429

Twitter: @MaryMeauxPANews