Questions that need answers

Published 6:24 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2017

We are glad to hear that Port Arthur JP Judge Gillam is doing well following the shooting in a southeast area of Houston where he was injured. It’s never easy going through the recovery process and we want to allow the family time to work through this traumatic event that engulfed their life.
However, with this incident involving a well-known public official, citizens who pay his salary across Jefferson County deserve answers to questions that have been circulating across social media. And the only person who can answer those questions is Judge Gillam himself. Yet he has remained silent and not replying to our calls.
Citizens across our community seem to feel that the story Gillam told Houston Police is a little lacking in some detail. And the follow up by his friend Councilman Willie Bae Lewis, offered nothing to help. In fact, it confused and created more questions by citizens. So, let’s take a look at what we know.
The call initially came in to Houston Police at 10:40 p.m. Jan. 31 reporting the shooting. Gilliam states that he pulled his vehicle over in a southeast Houston area to answer his phone. After doing so the report notes a woman asking for money approached his car multiple times. Denying the request and preparing to leave, another individual approached from the rear of the vehicle and began shooting.
Although this report might be 100 percent accurate, Judge Gillam is a long time public figure in Port Arthur. He owes it to the citizens of this community to answer questions and inconsistencies in his story, which are on everyone’s mind.
1.    It has been confirmed that Gillam was supposed to be the “On Call” JP at the time of this incident in Houston. After a local incident occurred in Jefferson County where his services were needed, officials were unable to contact him. Ultimately contacting another JP. Although the city of Port Arthur stated this is not an issue, and is why there are multiple JP’s, I believe this is an issue. If an on call official has plans to be away from his responsibilities, than a back up should have already be in place and everyone alerted to this change so time is not lost seeking another JP when the initial individual is unaccounted for. So why was he in southeast Houston when supposed to be “On Call” locally and how come nobody knew of this?
2.    Gillam reported that he needed to pull over to answer a phone call. He drives a 2006 Mercedes sport scar, which is a much nicer car than a lot of people around Port Arthur. However, many can still answer their phone in their car by pushing a button on the steering wheel and continue driving while talking with both hands still securely on the steering wheel. Thus not needing to pull over to answer a call in a shady area of town. Can Judge Gillam not do this in his high-end vehicle? Later in an interview, Councilman Lewis stated he pulled over to answer a text. So what was it, a call or a text?
3.    The area of southeast Houston where his incident took place is a high crime area. An area that many steer clear of, especially after dark. Why would a public official drive his high-end vehicle, which easily makes you a target to criminal behavior, be in that area that late at night?
4.    The area in which the incident occurred has been a well-known hot spot for prostitution over the years for the city of Houston. It was not very hard to find information supporting this. It is so bad in this area that prostitution stings are made multiple times a year. In November of 2015, 10 arrests were made. In December of 2015, 25 arrests were made and in May of 2016 26 prostitution arrests were made. Why would a public official be in an area with this reputation that late at night and pull over?
Yes, there might be perfectly good explanations for these questions and many others. But questionable actions followed by a very vague story, and no comment, should make us all question who is really in public office on our behalf.
It is the right of citizens across Jefferson County to know. And we will continue to seek those answers.

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