ST. GABRIEL — Months after asking the Louisiana Attorney General’s office to take over the review of a fatal double shooting by the son of the city’s police chief, the mother of two brothers killed last May questioned whether state prosecutors are adequately handling the investigation into her sons’ deaths.
“I feel like they’re still trying to find a way for Kevin Ambeau Jr. to be right and put my sons in the wrong,” Angela Stewart said in the living room of her home Monday. “Justice is blind, but she’s not stupid. Justice is supposed to be for everybody.”
Stewart says the AG’s office hasn’t yet reached out to key witnesses who were at the scene when her sons Dominique Dunbar, 26, and Rove Lodge, 30, were shot at a St. Gabriel trailer belonging to Ambeau’s girlfriend on Mother’s Day.
“They claim none of my witnesses want to cooperate, so he’s closing the case,” Stewart said Monday.
But a spokesman for Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says investigators are still trying to get to the bottom of what happened that night in St. Gabriel, although he offered few details about the probe’s progress.
“Our office received the case on July 17, and the matter is being actively investigated,” Aaron Sadler said in an email. “We have committed our resources to conducting multiple interviews and reviewing evidence.”
Ambeau, 25, told police he shot and killed Dunbar and Lodge after the brothers showed up at his girlfriend’s trailer, located in the 5000 block of Martin Luther King Parkway, to confront his cousin. That man had gotten into two fist fights with the siblings earlier the same night.
Ambeau, who has since moved to Virginia, is the son of St. Gabriel police chief Kevin Ambeau Sr. The younger Ambeau was arrested after the shooting and spent a brief stint in the parish jail, but he ended up booked for an unrelated charge of being in possession of a stolen gun authorities found when they searched his girlfriend’s home. The gun wasn’t the same one he used to kill the two brothers, authorities said.
Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi has said there was never any “clear evidence” to arrest Ambeau in connection to the shootings, saying there was an open question of whether he was trying to defend his girlfriend’s home.
But Stewart and other family members offered different takes on the night.
In their recap, they say 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 the dispute.
Ambeau told investigators that the two brothers — one-time friends of his — and several others followed him and his cousins 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 Lodge and Ambeau Jr. had guns and there were multiple shots fired inside the trailer.
But Natasha Populars, the girlfriend of Israel Lodge, a brother to both Rove Lodge and Dunbar, on Monday said she was outside the trailer when the brothers were killed. She recalled Ambeau’s cousin inviting Dunbar into the trailer to settle a beef that had started over several emotionally charged messages on social media.
Rove Lodge stayed outside the trailer, Populars said. But after hearing gunfire from inside, he started beating on the back door. At that point, Ambeau then kicked the backdoor open and shot Lodge multiple times, she said.
Kimmely Dunbar, the victims’ cousin, was on the scene shortly after the shootings, when the police arrived.
She recalls seeing officers with the St. Gabriel Police Department carrying a small box out of the trailer.
When asked about this, Police Chief Kevin Ambeau Sr. stood by his original statement that his officers were not involved in any part of the investigation.
Stassi maintains his office properly handled the case before handing it over to the Attorney General’s Office.
He also confirmed that Dunbar was in the trailer when he shot, a fact not revealed in earlier statements about the incident.
“I went to this (Mrs. Stewart’s) house and tried to answer every question she said,” Stassi said. “It was a hostile environment. She’s talking to a lot of people who weren’t even there; they’re not reliable sources.
“I think the Attorney General’s Office will eventually present it to the grand jury. I think that’s the only way this will get resolved.”
Stewart said Dunbar would have turned 27 on Tuesday.
“They are my children, and I want to know what happened to them inside that house,” she said.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.