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Port Arthur leaders react to violence as police ID latest homicide victim

Port Arthur Police have identified Lionel Ivory as the victim of Wednesday’s fatal shooting at Prince Hall Apartments.

Ivory, 34, was a resident of the city but did not live at the apartment complex, Police Chief Tim Duriso said.

Ivory was found outside at the apartments, which are located at 914 W. 14th St.

Detectives have identified a person of interest and a person who could be considered a witness, Duriso said.

No arrests have been made.

Ivory’s death marked the second deadly shooting in the city in three days and the third in a month, and does not including a shooting that left a man injured with gunshot wounds to his back.

However, police do not believe Ivory’s death is related to any of the other crimes.

Duriso said the shooting was not random and was not a robbery, adding there is no indication the victim participated in any type of physical show of force.

PAPD received a 911 call at approximately 12:11 a.m. Wednesday in reference to a man being shot at Prince Hall Apartments. While there they found the victim, who had sustained a gunshot wound. He was deceased, and Jefferson County Pct. 7 Justice of the Peace Brad Burnett ordered an autopsy.

PAPD’s Criminal Investigations Division is asking anyone with information on this killing to call 409-983-8600 or Crime Stoppers at 409-833-TIPS.

Ivory’s death was preceded by the shooting death of Emon Jacorey Johnson, 28, on Sunday.

Johnson was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds while at Louis Manor Apartments, 1300 Joe Louis Ave., on Nov. 22. Port Arthur Firefighters performed life saving efforts and the victim was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced deceased, according to information from PAPD.

The following day Anthony Paul Petry, 25, was charged with murder. He remains in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on a $1 million bond.

The violence goes back to Nov. 18, when a 40-year-old Port Arthur man was found shot between two buildings at Prince Hall Apartments. The man underwent surgery and is listed in stable condition.

Detectives are following leads on the case, which is expected to be presented to the District Attorney’s office depending on the cooperation of the victim.

No arrests have been made in that case.

Addressing the violence

Duriso described the recent violence as sporadic and based on passion of the moment.

“I don’t think someone is going around and saying ‘I’m going to commit violence,’” he said. “The ones I’ve seen recently started out as a normal day and anger turned to violence.”

Duriso said local pastors and leaders are spreading the word that violence is not the answer. He also said COVID-19 has been one of the department’s obstacles when it comes to reaching people as frequently as they did in the past.

“I want people to think before they act, because at the end of the day, even if you’re on the other end as a suspect, your life is changed forever,” Duriso said.

“Typically two people are acquaintances and at some point someone became angry and committed the unthinkable. It’s still not justified.”

Recently elected District 4 Councilman Kenneth Marks knows shootings should concern all citizens and he said something needs to be done, adding he would like to work with the mayor and police chief and see what plans they already have.

Mayor Thurman Bartie said he is really dismayed at the rash of behavior.

“It’s just simply no reason,” he said. “We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to do better.”

Today it’s an African American problem, Bartie said, adding tomorrow it may be in the White community, the next day it may be in the Hispanic community and the next day after be in the Asian community.

Individuals need to examine themselves and try not to act violently to human type situations.

“People can just disagree on something,” he said. “I’ve stated before there is not a winner in these incidents. There’s a loser on both sides. One family lost a life of a loved one. They have to bury someone, and the other family loses a life. The accused or the person convicted will probably be gone forever or for life. It’s not a win-win situation. You’re losing on both sides, and I know at the time we’re living in right now, with COVID, we all are experiencing tough situations. We have got to be better at coping skills so that taking a life is not the number one coping mechanism we use.”