The close relationship between the officers and detectives of Lumberton Police Department, Hardin County Sheriff's Office and Beaumont Police Department, as well as the courage of a homeowner who stood tall to defend her family, paid off in a huge way early Sunday morning.
The departments joined forces to put three behind bars with a list of charges that include aggravated robbery and aggravated sexual assault. According to Lumberton Police Chief Danny Sullins, in the early morning hours of April 7, at approximately 3:15 a.m., Lumberton officers responded to a home in the 200 block of Village Creek Parkway in regards to a robbery.
Once officers arrived on scene, they came in contact with the victim, a 30-year old female who explained to officers that while pulling into her driveway after coming home from work in Beaumont, she was approached by two black males while exiting her car.
The victim explained that one of the men was carrying a handgun and demanded her ATM card and pin number. She was then forced back into the car and driven to a local convenience store where one of the men exited the car and entered the store, leaving the victim and the other assailant in the car.
Sullins stated that while the first suspect was in the store, the victim was sexually assaulted by the second suspect in the car. Once the suspects had gotten the cash off of the ATM card, they drove the victim back to her home and released her before allegedly fleeing on foot.
The third suspect, a black female, was waiting one block away in a car used to flee the scene. According to police reports, the first victim did not require medical attention.
Shortly after the three suspects fled the scene, they saw another car, driven by a female who was traveling along. Reports indicate that they followed the car onto Dennis Avenue where they parked outside the woman's residence. While exiting the car, the second victim, a 50-year old female, was assaulted by one of the males, who began to hit her with his gun in the head area.
The woman's scream awoke her daughter-in-law, who was also staying in the home. The daughter-in-law, 31, came out to the driveway and both women were then forced back into the home. Also in the home were three small children who were asleep at the time.
Once the two male suspects forced the women back into the home, the daughter-in-law was able to retrieve a handgun from the bedroom of the home. While the suspect was continuing to threaten the other woman, the daughter-in-law fired a single shot, striking the suspect's abdomen.
After being shot, both male suspects fled on foot until they reached their get away car, driven by the black female. The suspect who was shot made his way to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont for medical treatment. Because the majority of hospitals are required to report all gun shot victims, Beaumont Police Department was notified of the injury.
Lumberton Detectives Kenneth Powell, Forrest Cobb, and Joey Breaux arrived at the hospital were able to identify the suspects after viewing video images taken at the store where the ATM was used. They next arrested the two suspects who were not injured in the shooting. Ariel Malveaux,20, of Beaumont, and Malik Washington, 21, of Beaumont, were arrested and questioned by officers where they gave a full video taped confession.
Malveaux and Washington were arrested. Judge Butch Cummings arraigned Malveaux and Washington, and set bond at $500,000 on each charge. Malveaux's bond was set at $1 million. She is being charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping.
Washington was charged with aggravated robbery, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping. His bond is set at $1.5 million. Both remain in custody.
The suspect, who suffered the gunshot wound, 21-year old Scott Allen Willis, Jr., of Beaumont remains in the hospital and is now under arrest on a warrant out of Jefferson County for robbery. Sullins stated that Lumberton Police Department is in the process of obtaining the arrest warrants for Willis for the two Lumberton robberies. Charges expect to be brought forth shortly.
Sullins reiterated the appreciation felt and the honor of being able to work with two of best departments in the state on this case.
"Chief James Singletary of Beaumont Police Department was amazing," Sullins said. "Anything we needed, he and his boys are there. Anything they need, we're going to of course do the same."
Also playing a major role in the success of the case was Sheriff Ed Cain and Hardin County Sheriff's Department.
"This case would not have turned out the way it did if not for HCSO," Sullins continued. "We had two major scenes at once and HCSO stepped in and offered all of their assistance. Sheriff Cain and his deputies made it possible for us to put this to rest. I can't express enough appreciation to these agencies."
Sullins also stated that he feels that the three female victims who were attacked did everything right and although traumatized, all kept a great head on their shoulders.
"These ladies did not do anything wrong. They were going home where they felt safe. The woman who shot Willis had no other choice. There were three small children in the home. She protected those babies and her family, and she did it well," Sullins stated.
Another aspect of the case that Sullins does not want to be overlooked is the fact that this is not the norm for the City of Lumberton.
"What occurred with these two robberies is very uncommon in our community. I want our citizens to feel safe here. We pray that this will not ever happen again and will do everything in our power to make sure that it does not."