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Week under siege: police working homicide, armed home invasions & drive-by shootings

Police in Port Arthur are in the midst of multiple investigations into a series of violent crimes that happened in the past six days.

Here’s a look at how the investigations are going:

• Joel Lopez Martinez, 42, of Port Arthur was shot to death during a robbery July 19 at a home in the 3200 block of 18th Street. The release of the man’s name was prolonged while police worked to notify next of kin.

Police have released the name and photo of a person of interest, Kianna Kincade, 23, of Port Arthur.

Not much information is available about the killing; early reports showed the call came in initially as a possible drive-by shooting but was later discerned to be an armed robbery. Police at the scene were told two men approached a third man at the back of a residence and demanded money. A fourth man came outside the home and was also confronted.

During the altercation the fourth man was struck with a pistol and the third man, Martinez, was shot while trying to flee and later died from his injuries.

Port Arthur Police Det. Mike Hebert said police were initially going to hold a press conference on the crime but decided against it because he could not release the number of times Martinez was shot nor could he say why the female is a person of interest.

Police are also not releasing information about the home’s inhabitants.

“We can’t comment on that case. It is a very, very fluid case where investigators are still out gathering evidence,” Hebert said. “We don’t want to jeopardize the case.”

• On July 21 a man forced his way into a woman’s home at Rampart Apartments, 1724 Village East Blvd., and displayed a handgun while demanding property before fleeing on foot.

No injuries were reported and the case remains under investigation.

• Another home invasion at a different complex occurred July 22 at Turtle Creek Apartments. Police arrested three men, Timothy Lewis, 33, of Winnie; Caleb Broussard, 26, of Houston; and Jordan Spiller, 28, of Beaumont, according to a news release from PAPD.

Hebert couldn’t say if they are connected to any other Port Arthur crime.

“Detectives are looking into that. We can’t give specifics into which crimes,” he said. “Obviously when home invasions happen you go back and look to see if there are any similarities to previous cases.”

He also could not say if the men are cooperating with police since their arrest earlier this week.

• On July 22 two men were walking in the area of the 3400 block of Jimmy Johnson Boulevard when a vehicle approached and fried several shots. One of the men was struck by gunfire.

The victim ran from the scene and a neighbor in the 8100 block of Oakmont Avenue called police. He was brought by emergency medical services to a local hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

“We don’t think it’s related to the Turtle Creek home invasion but we can’t say why,” Hebert said.

• An early morning drive-by shooting Wednesday in the 5600 block of Grant Avenue left a 4-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to his back. Upwards of a dozen shots were fired, striking the home and vehicles.

Police said the shooting appeared to have been targeted at the house but did not say why this particular house was targeted or who was the possible target.

Detectives are still interviewing witnesses and information on the shooter or vehicle used in the crime is not available.

Information about the weapons involved is also not being released at this time.

Persons with information on these crimes are asked to call the Port Arthur Police Department at 983-8600.