A homeowner in Port Arthur, Texas, used a rifle to defend his home and children from three intruders on Sunday after the intruders held his family at gunpoint, according to police and local media. The man shot and killed one of the suspects, and the other two fled and are still at large.
Port Arthur Police are calling the incident a home invasion/aggravated robbery. The suspects forced their way into the house around 8:15 p.m. and held the family at gunpoint right after a woman who lived in the house came home, according to news releases.
That’s when a 29-year-old man came in from another room armed with a rifle to confront the suspects and protect his young children. He fired several shots at the intruders and killed one of them, 27-year-old Terence Ellies.
Investigators are still looking for the other two men.
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The same home in which the attempted burglary took place was found on fire less than 24 hours later. Nobody was home when the fire started, and the cause is still unknown, 4WWL reports. Police have not said whether the home invasion and the fire are related.
Crime has been an ongoing problem in Port Arthur even before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jefferson County Commissioner Michael Sinegal speaking to Fox 4.
Sinegal told the outlet that residents shouldn’t expect the police to reduce crime on their own. It will take cooperation from schools, churches, and the community to stop the burglaries. Most of all, he believes it will take individuals choosing to become productive members of society.
“The individuals are not considering the damage they’re doing to society. These individuals think, I’m going to get mine. Well, go out and work for it,” Sinegal said. “These young people, I don’t know if they’re getting the message that we will lock you up.”
Sinegal’s sentiment was echoed by a resident who spoke with Fox 4 anonymously.
“If you have time to ride around and case out neighborhoods that you want to go break in their vehicles or break in their homes, go get you a job and work!” she said.
Neighbors say that hiring more police officers and installing more lighting might help the area’s crime problem.
Friends of Ellies on social media expressed grief and surprise at his death.
Police have not identified the homeowner who defended his family.