Decade-old Port Arthur cold case killing solved with surrender of alleged suspect

Published 3:57 pm Friday, June 14, 2024

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A 10-year-old Port Arthur cold case has been solved after the alleged shooter made a statement to police Friday.

Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso said Damond Lewis of Beaumont turned himself in to police in connection with the Feb. 14, 2014, killing of Eric Darnell Noel, 29.

Lewis was awaiting arraignment as of 3:30 p.m. Friday.

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“This brings closure to the victim’s family,” Duriso said.

Police don’t know why Lewis surrendered to police after 10 years.

Duriso said although the case was cold it was never closed. Detectives will continue the investigation into Noel’s death.

The victim’s mother, Lula Noel had spoke with media several times in hopes of finding her son’s killer.

The crime

Police received a call of a “man down” shortly after 1 a.m. Feb. 14, 2014, in the 800 block of 9th Street. Police found the victim with a gunshot wound. He was sent to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, where he later died.

Police said there had been several altercations in the parking lot at nearby BJ’s Food Store, 1201 Seventh St., and at some point Noel walked away. Within minutes shots were heard. When officers arrived, they found Noel on the ground.

Lula Noel said in a 2017 interview that she heard there was an altercation that night and a person told her that her son got into an argument with a man and left.

He left walking toward his girlfriend’s house, as he’s done many times before.

“They believe the same guy went around the corner and opened fire, just like that. Over an argument,” she said in the interview.

Lula Noel and her husband were in bed when they got the call. She said she couldn’t get out of the house fast enough. Police were trying to get information from her and had her son’s picture up. There was confusion. By the time she got to the hospital, he was dead.

There was no one there to comfort them, she said.

“I didn’t get to say goodbye,” she said previously. “It was the way it happened. The only time I got to see him, he was already embalmed and I viewed the body and that was it.”