PAPD sheds light on reported motor vehicle shooting near Rainbow Bridge

Published 1:32 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The alleged driver of a car that an Orange County man said fired shots at him last week was located shortly after the incident but not cite, police said.

The driver and the passenger were clear of warrants and the driver was in legal possession of a firearm, Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso said.

Without meeting with the caller, there was nothing police could do to legally hold the man or charge him with a crime.

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PAPD dispatch received a call of a motorist allegedly shooting a firearm in the air from a moving vehicle at approximately 4:40 a.m. Friday in the vicinity of Texas 73 near 25th Street, just as the caller was entering the city limits.

“The first patrol unit was in the area at 4:43 a.m. and the suspect vehicle was located and stopped at approximately 4:45 a.m.,” according to a press release on PAPD’s Facebook page.

The suspect vehicle was stopped at Raceway on Memorial Boulevard, where police said the driver was in legal possession of a firearm; however, because the “caller refused to meet with the officers and provide further details and allow officers to observe any damage/evidence to his vehicle, there was nothing more our officers could do. The driver was given a traffic citation and allowed to leave.”

PAPD said they take all calls of reported shots fired seriously and investigate the calls to the fullest. However, without the identity of witnesses or victims, law enforcement is limited to the actions legally allowed.

An individual does not always have to give a full name and officers can meet someone away from the scene in an effort to protect an identity from any alleged perpetrator.

The man who made a social media post warning of the shooting said in the post he had noted a dark colored car speeding off ahead of a cluster of vehicles as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge into the city. While driving on Texas 73 near 25th Street he reportedly saw a passenger in the vehicle firing a gun numerous times, then heard what sounded like something hit the top of his truck so he backed off and reduced speed.

He then called 911, he said, as he was going over Twin City Highway. The man gave a description of the car to the dispatcher including a description of the license plate.

Unrelated shootings

Duriso said this incident is not related to the April 8 shooting that happened in the 7500 block of Twin City Highway near Jimmy Johnson Boulevard.

The suspect vehicle in that shooting was located the following week in the north end of Beaumont.

Beaumont Police stopped the car for a traffic violation and the driver was ticketed for no driver’s license, according to Port Arthur Police.

The driver is not believed to be involved in the Port Arthur shooting, authorities said.

Surveillance video released by PAPD in the April 8 incident showed a gray or light blue small hatchback car following behind another car when the passenger hangs out of a moving vehicle and began shooting toward the other car.

A 29-year-old Port Arthur man sustained a gunshot wound and was brought to a local hospital for treatment. He is listed in stable condition.

These aren’t the only shootings that happened during travel.

A Groves mother also had a bullet fly into her car and go through the jacket her daughter was wearing.

The shooting happened about 10:30 p.m. March 23 as the woman had gotten off the short feeder road onto Texas 73 near 25th Street heading toward FM 366.

No one was injured but the bullet lodged in her car door.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.