The 25-year-old son of St. Gabriel’s police chief was arrested Wednesday after investigators found a stolen gun in the trailer where he’s suspected of fatally shooting two brothers he and his cousin got into physical altercations with on Mother’s Day.
The stolen gun authorities confiscated from Kevin Ambeau Jr., the police chief’s son, isn’t the same weapon that was used in Sunday’s slayings, according to Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi.
But Stassi also said Wednesday there’s “no clear evidence,” based on the circumstances, that would warrant Ambeau’s arrest on counts in Sunday’s shootings.
“I really don’t feel confident we could charge him with anything,” Stassi said. He said he’ll let a grand jury decide if charges should be filed once his office completes its investigation of the shooting.
Ambeau is accused of shooting Dominique Dunbar, 26, and Rove Lodge, 30, Sunday as the two brothers tried to enter the trailer of Ambeau’s girlfriend, police said.
Ambeau told authorities the two brothers were trying to enter his girlfriend’s trailer to confront his cousin who had gotten into two fistfights with the siblings, first at the Popingo gas station on La. 30, then shortly afterward on Sixth Street.
According to previous reports, Ambeau had broken up the fight on Sixth Street and had taken his cousin to his girlfriend’s trailer after getting into a brief physical altercation with Lodge.
Ambeau told investigators that the two brothers and several friends followed them back to the trailer. He said Dunbar and Lodge were trying to enter the trailer through the back door when he shot them about 10:30 p.m.
The sheriff said both Lodge and Ambeau had guns.
The girlfriend of Israel Lodge, a brother to Rove Lodge and Dunbar, has given a conflicting account of the events. She said the two victims were trying to get clarity regarding several messages Ambeau’s cousin had posted on social media when they were shot and killed.
Stassi said previously Ambeau fired at least four rounds through the back door of the trailer. There also were multiple gunshots fired into the trailer from a possible third party, according to previous reports.
The Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday investigators were still trying to locate and interview several witnesses involved in Sunday night’s fatal shooting.
DNA and other physical evidence was still being processed by the sheriff’s forensic team and State Crime Lab, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
“It is impossible to say exactly when the investigation will be complete, but it will be done in a timely and thorough manner,” the release says.
Stassi added the grand jury would convene in “a couple weeks.”
In the meantime, Ambeau was booked into Iberville Parish Jail about 10 a.m. Wednesday on illegal possession of a stolen firearm. He was released Wednesday afternoon after posting $20,000 bail.
Maj. Ronnie Hebert, with the Sheriff’s Office, said law enforcement officers found the firearm while searching the trailer where the shooting occurred. A check run on the gun revealed that it was a stolen weapon out of Ascension Parish, he added.
Wednesday wasn’t Ambeau’s first felony arrest in Iberville Parish for a gun-related offense. He was arrested in May 2012 for aggravated assault with a firearm and simple criminal damage to property, according to arrest affidavits.
The arrest stemmed from a May 11, 2012, incident in which Ambeau and several of his friends — including Dunbar — were accused of firing multiple shots at a Prairieville man they had gotten into a fight with at the American Legion Hall in St. Gabriel.
According to an incident report, Ambeau and his friends also used baseball bats to damage the man’s vehicle after he fled the scene.
The man was not injured in the incident, according to incident reports.
Minutes from Ambeau’s March 11, 2013, court appearance show he was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay $250 in fines for the damages to the man’s vehicle after pleading guilty to the lesser charges of misdemeanor simple criminal damage to property and simple assault.
Court records show most of the suspects involved in the May 2012 incident also received probation after making similar pleas.
Police and witness accounts from the incident never proved Ambeau had fired his gun at the man that night — only that officers saw him and several others in possession of weapons.
Assistant District Attorney Scott Stassi said Wednesday the outcome wasn’t unusual and that the St. Gabriel police chief’s son received no special treatment.
“These cases are fact-driven and supported by witnesses that are willing to testify,” he said. “Most of the individuals pled guilty in advance and received the same sentence.”
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