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“Fluid investigation” leaves lots of unknowns following fatal Port Arthur home invasion

A small section of street sandwiched not far from Bluebonnet Avenue and DeQueen Boulevard was the scene of a violent home invasion that left one of three suspected intruders dead at the hands of the homeowner.

A portion of crime scene tape was still tied near the scene in the 2500 block of 18th Street Monday morning while a dog roamed and tried to attack a man on a bicycle.

The man hopped off his bicycle, placing it between him and the growling, angry dog. He then pulled a pocketknife from his pocket and opened the blade, ready in case the dog continued to lunge at him with teeth bared.

The close encounter stopped when a woman in a truck drove by, putting distance between the man and the dog.

The woman was heading to her home not far away. She knew which house Sunday night’s deadly home invasion occurred but since she doesn’t stay at the home often due to her work, she didn’t have much information to share.

According to Sgt. Shannon Meaux and Sgt. Chris Billiot, three armed men forcibly entered a house in the 2500 block of 18th Street shortly before 8:31 p.m. Sunday while a female resident was arriving home. Meaux said the gunmen held the family at gunpoint while demanding property.

At this time, police believe, the 29-year-old male homeowner was in another room and heard what was happening.

“The homeowner fired several shots at the suspect, who was pronounced deceased on scene,” Meaux said. “The other two suspects fled the area before officers arrived.”

The deceased was identified on Monday as Terence Ellies, 27, of Port Arthur.

Jefferson County Precinct 8 Justice of the Peace Tom Gillam III has requested an autopsy.

Billiot said the initial commotion led to the male resident arming himself with a rifle and confronting the assailants “in protection of his young children.”

Det. Mike Hebert said police are not going to release anymore information at this time, as this is “such an active and fluid investigation.”

Crime scene tape is seen Monday morning in front of a Port Arthur home along 18th Street, the site of a fatal shooting the night before. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Unanswered questions

The robbery happened while a female resident was arriving home, but police are not saying if this was a targeted robbery or commenting on the relationship, if any, between the gunmen and the victim’s family.

Descriptions of the two suspects who fled the scene were not provided by authorities and it is unknown if the suspects fired any shots during the encounter.

Texas has what is called the Castle Doctrine, which allows a person being attacked to defend himself or herself using force. Police are not saying if they plan on filing charges against the homeowner.

Other than the suspected robber that was killed, it is unknown if there were any other injuries during the shooting.

Police are also not saying how the people inside the home are related or how many children were inside at the time of the robbery and shooting.

Attempts to reach Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso on Monday were unsuccessful.

Recent crimes

The city has seen a number of robberies of stores with multiple suspects — most of which had three assailants.

During December there have been four armed robberies with multiple suspects; Sunshine Groceries on Dec. 3, Stop & Drive on Dec. 14; Willie’s Washateria on Dec. 19 and Truong Washateria on Dec. 22.