St. Martinville shooting leads to SWAT action in Mississippi
After what police are calling an unprovoked shooting here Friday, a local man was treated for a gunshot wound and subsequently released, and a SWAT team in Mississippi stormed a motel room containing five persons, including the alleged shooter.
Arthur Freeman Jr., 28, of Jonesboro, currently living in Baton Rouge, was arrested on suspicion of attempted second degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm by a felon.
Brien Wing, 26, of Franklin was also arrested on a suggested charge of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon.
Three St. Martinville residents, Jeffery Malveaux Jr., 31, Ashley Seaux, 30, and Dawn Melancon, 40, were all being held on obstruction of justice.
The five were booked into the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center Saturday.
The victim, identified as Mike Zeno of St. Martinville, was shot in his left side by the rib cage, according to St. Martinville Police Chief Calder Hebert. He has been released from the hospital.
Zeno, who drove himself to the police station, told officers the shooting occurred around 1:40 p.m. at the intersection of W. Port and LaSalle streets near the former Canal gas station. According to Chief Hebert, Zeno’s Cadillac was in traffic behind a red Honda containing the five suspects, when Freeman suddenly got out of the car and fired.
Zeno said he did not know Freeman and did not provoke the shooting, Hebert said.
After an extensive investigation, SMPD detectives, reportedly using cell phone tracking, located the suspect vehicle and its five occupants at the Excellent Inn and Suites in Natchez, Miss.
Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten told reporters in Natchez that Hebert called at about 9 p.m. Friday.
“The chief told me, ‘Do not approach these guys alone or with just two or three deputies.’” Patten said.
The sheriff said that within 15 minutes, he was able to muster additional units and a special response team. They kept the motel under surveillance until just after midnight on Saturday, when deputies stormed the room and arrested the five suspects.
Deputies also recovered three handguns. Natchez media reported that one of the weapons, a .38 revolver, has been identified as that used in the shooting. Hebert told Teche News, however, the bullet that struck the victim has not yet been scientifically examined.
Patten described the arrests as a high-risk situation, and said he was glad no one was injured.
Adams County deputies also found cocaine and methamphetamine on Freeman, Patten said. Deputies also discovered another warrant issued for Freeman in Baton Rouge.
“We’re letting him go answer for his attempted murder charge first,” Patten said. “And then if they allow him to make bond, he’s more than likely going to be (charged) here for the cocaine and crystal meth, and then he’ll bounce around to Baton Rouge.”
Herbert said his department is grateful for the support by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.
“Sheriff Patten and I spoke multiple times to coordinate information and his team executed the arrests just prior to our arrival,” Herbert said. “Once on scene, our officers were treated professionally and given use of the facilities for interviews and processing documents.”
Patten said his team did an outstanding job and he was proud of his office.
“This isn’t the place you want to be if you’re screwing up, and that shows it,” he said. “They probably won’t cross the line in Adams County again after last night.”
Thanks to Megan Fink Leoni of the Natchez Democrat for details of the arrests.