Police update investigation after 4 fatally shot; cooperation from neighbors helping

Published 12:20 am Saturday, January 6, 2024

ORANGE — Police in Orange are aware of the speculation surrounding the shooting deaths of four people on New Year’s Day and are waiting for preliminary reports before releasing more information.

Captain Jonathan Baggett said autopsies have been performed on the individuals and they awaiting the preliminary reports.

Police are receiving cooperation from the neighbors of the home at 2406 North 8th Street. Baggett said some of the neighbors have surveillance video that investigators have been able to utilize in the investigation.

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Law enforcement has also spoke with the person who made the 911 call Monday morning that led to the discovery of the four deceased individuals from apparent gunshot wounds.

Baggett said once the preliminary reports are complete, police will release additional information.

While the autopsies have been performed, the full report takes longer to generate as it show toxicology results, he said.

The veteran officer said he has been with the Orange Police Department for 18 years, and this is his first case with four decedents in the same incident.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Chad Jenkins ordered autopsies on the four victims Monday.

He said Orange County is contracted with Jefferson County for autopsies.

“This is a tragic situation to start the New Year,” Jenkins said.

“It is still an ongoing investigation, and my prayers definitely go out to all of the families involved.”

News of the deaths of the four individuals impacted many across the community, Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. said, adding he visited the crime scene after learning about the tragic results.

“In the days ahead they will need our prayers, support and compassion,” Spears said of the victim’s families and loved ones.

He asks those who know the family to be their support when the need arises in this time of loss.

“This family needs the community to come together and support them any way possible,” Spears said.

The case is being investigated by the City of Orange Criminal Investigation Division.

“Although this is an active homicide investigation, the City of Orange Police Department is confident that this was an isolated incident and there is no threat to the community,” a release from police stated Monday.

“As the investigation continues additional information will be released.

The deceased were identified as Janiya Lewis, 17; Porsha Kiel, 34; and Bobby Kiel, 53, all of Orange and Lester Lewis, 33 of San Augustine.

Orange authorities said Tuesday they were looking to release additional information this week on the triple homicide/suicide that occurred New Year’s Day.

Sergeant Isaac Henry III declined to go into detail with Port Arthur Newsmedia Tuesday morning when asked who reported the vicious crime to police.

He also would not, at that time, release details about the victim’s connections to the suspected shooter.

Henry did say authorities are looking to provide some of those answers when more information is released.