PLAQUEMINE — An Iberville Parish grand jury on Thursday determined there wasn’t enough evidence to indict the son of the St. Gabriel police chief for the May killings of two brothers, a decision the mother of the victims decried as an injustice.
“This is not the final say,” said Angela Stewart,who lost her two sons, Dominique Dunbar, 26, and Rove Lodge, 30, in the shooting. “I’m going to talk to my lawyer. I’ll sell my house and my land if I have to, but I want justice for my sons.”
Kevin Ambeau Jr., 25, whose father is St. Gabriel’s police chief, told police he shot and killed Dunbar and Lodge after the pair showed up at his girlfriend’s trailer to confront his cousin. The cousin had gotten into fist fights with the siblings earlier the same night.
In a prepared statement shortly after the grand jury’s decision, the police chief said he respects the criminal justice system and expressed relief for his son, who moved to Virginia following the incident.
“However, at the same time, I am still saddened about the incident and will still keep the family of the victims in my thoughts and prayers,” Kevin Ambeau Sr. wrote. “I hope that the St. Gabriel community will continue to heal from this tragic incident.”
The chief’s son spent a brief stint in the parish jail when he was arrested after the shooting on an unrelated charge of being in possession of a stolen gun. Authorities found the gun during a search of his girlfriend’s home. The gun wasn’t the same one used to kill the two brothers, authorities said.
In the wake of the killings, authorities have said there was never clear evidence to warrant Ambeau’s arrest in connection to the incident. A looming question of the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office’s investigation of the case was whether he was attempting to defend his girlfriend’s home when he fired the shots that killed the two brothers.
But Stewart and her family have always challenged law enforcement’s assessment of the incident and predicted at the time that the police chief’s son wouldn’t have to stand trial for the killings due to his father’s connections.
That’s why Stewart in July had asked that the state’s Attorney General’s Office step in and take over the case — a decision she indicated Thursday that she’s come to regret.
“They only talked to who they wanted to talk to,” Stewart said. “They didn’t talk to a lot of the witnesses they should have. They didn’t talk to me!”
Stewart was not at the scene the night of the shootings, but Natasha Populars, the girlfriend of Israel Lodge, a brother to Rove Lodge and Dominique Dunbar, was there.
Populars has said the brothers had no intentions of harming Ambeau or his cousin and that one of the brothers was even invited into the house that night to try to work out a dispute.
Ambeau Jr. told investigators that the two brothers — one-time friends of his — and several others followed him and his cousin back to the trailer. He said Dunbar and Lodge were trying to enter the trailer through the back door when he shot them.
The sheriff said both Rove Lodge and Ambeau Jr. had guns, and there were multiple shots fired inside the trailer.
Populars had previously said she was outside the trailer when the brothers were killed. She later recalled Ambeau’s cousin inviting Dunbar into the trailer to settle a beef that had started over several emotionally charged messages on social media.
Lodge stayed outside the trailer, Populars said. But after hearing gunfire from inside, he started beating on the back door. At that point, Ambeau kicked the back door open and shot Lodge multiple times, she said.
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