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In the aftermath of what the Orange County Sheriff’s Office has called a “double homicide,” the community and sheriff’s deputies are shocked, confused and looking for answers in the tragic shooting deaths of a Vidor couple Friday Nov. 23. But the answers are not apparent as of yet, according to Orange County Sergeant Chad Hogan.
News releases from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office revealed the department received a report of gunshots Friday afternoon. Deputies arrived at the scene at 5620 Woodside Drive in Vidor at about 3 p.m. and discovered the bodies of 34-year-old Aaron Conn and wife, 30-year-old Summer Conn, who both appeared to have suffered fatal gunshot wounds. They were transported to the Jefferson County Morgue for autopsies. Deputies arrested the suspect, 26-year-old Vidor resident Curtis Allen Garrison, at his parents’ home in the 15000 block of FM 1442 in Orange near Mauriceville.
Lieutenant Thomas Ray of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office completed the affidavit of probable cause for the arrest warrant charging Garrison with capital murder. The affidavit fills in some of the blanks missing from the news release.
According to the affidavit, the suspect was located with the help of his family members. Garrison’s younger brother Nathan and mother Lisa went to the Orange Police Department the day of the incident to report that Curtis Garrison went to their house and told them he had killed two people, a male and a female, at his residence in Vidor. Mrs. Garrison stated that her son was still at her residence in Orange.
Upon receipt of the information provided by Garrison’s family, deputies drove to the residence in Orange where Garrison was said to be located. The affidavit indicated Deputy Scott Barnes of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office reported that Garrison surrendered when deputies arrived at his location, saying, “I will not give y’all any problems; I will go peacefully.”
Detective Sergeant Roman Zelgowski investigated the scene of the crime while his fellow officers were detaining Garrison. Zelgowski observed a maroon Nissan Maxima in the wood line on the property. He then noticed damage to the vehicle “consistent with being shot by a firearm,” per the affidavit. Upon inspection, he saw Summer Conn deceased in the front passenger seat of the car. Aaron Conn was lying across the rear seat of the vehicle, also deceased. According to the detective, the couple had been shot multiple times.
Garrison’s neighbors told officers they heard several gunshots and then observed Curtis Garrison leaving the residence in a white van. The van was located “hidden in a wooded area … where Curtis Garrison was detained.”
Garrison was arraigned by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Janice Menard and is being held in lieu of $1 million bond at the Orange County Correctional Facility.
The tragedy followed the violent death of Summer Conn’s brother, 27-year-old Beau Barron of Vidor, who was shot to death in Beaumont in February 2012.
Aaron Conn’s uncle Gary Rivette of China said the family is devastated by the loss of the young couple.
“Aaron and Summer were great people,” Rivette said. “They were going through some rough times, but they were great people.”
Aaron’s aunt Sherry Dupuis, also of China, said she will miss Aaron and Summer sorely.
“My nephew Aaron gave the best hugs,” she said. “I am going to miss his hugs. And Summer was the sweetest, most loving person. She had the best laugh! She was always positive and cheery. They were good-hearted people.”
Vidor resident Michael Edwards, 26, said he knew Garrison, the suspected shooter, in high school.
“We went to school together,” Edwards said. “I haven’t seen him for probably three years or so. It has been a long, long time since we spoke. I remember he was mechanically inclined, kind of quirky, but I would not have expected this.”
Edwards said he was “surprised” to hear about the shooting, but as he thought back on Garrison’s behavior, he could see the problems.
“He had some anger issues, a short temper,” Edwards remembered.
Sgt. Hogan said his office is still sorting through information regarding the tragedy.
“The suspect is not talking,” Hogan said regarding Garrison. “We are still in the process of talking to friends and family. … There are so many rumors and gossip going around it is taking longer. We are getting so much information, a lot of good information and a lot of hearsay. … We still want people to call with information. … We are looking for first-hand information. … We are trying to figure out how they knew each other.”
Hogan said they are investigating a rumor that one or both of the Conns lived with Garrison at the time of the incident. According to Dupuis, her nephew stayed with Garrison for a couple of weeks recently working for room and board. She said from what she understands, Aaron went by Garrison’s house on Thursday, Nov. 22, to pick up clothes he had left there. He was not successful in getting his belongings at that time, which is why he went back the following day.
Hogan said at this time, no witnesses have come forward and with Garrison remaining tight-lipped regarding what transpired, they do not know all of the details and have not yet ascertained a motive. Without Garrison’s cooperation in providing law enforcement officers with the answers they so desperately seek regarding his motive and how the shocking events of Nov. 23 unfolded, the grief-stricken family of Aaron and Summer Conn and the outraged community might never know what really happened that fateful day.
Sgt. Hogan, however, said he believes the truth will eventually be revealed through the investigation.
“We are confident we will get it all figured out,” Hogan assured.
New details continue to emerge in the ongoing investigation. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office asks that anyone with information regarding the case contact the criminal investigations division at (409) 670-4125.
Sharon Brooks can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 241, or by e-mail at sharon [at] theexaminer [dot] com.