Triple homicide suspect in custody

photo by Clay Thorp

UPDATE: A Port Arthur woman has been charged with hindering Joe Hawkins' apprehension.

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Beaumont police arrested 26-year-old Joe Frederick Hawkins of Beaumont as the only suspect in a triple homi­cide on the afternoon of March 16 that left three of the sus­pected shooter’s family mem­bers dead and a family acquaintance in stable condi­tion in a local hospital but suf­fering from multiple gunshot wounds.

According to news releas­es from the Beaumont Police Department, officers responded to a report of a disturbance at a home in the 3700 block of S. Fourth Street at about 4:07 p.m. on Sunday, March 16. Upon arrival at the scene, officers discovered four gunshot vic­tims in the yard of the resi­dence. Two siblings, 33-year-old Anthony Ray Hawkins and 30-year-old Reshowna Hawkins, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their brother, 34-year-old Darrell Hawkins, and a 21-year-old female acquaintance of the family were transported to St. Elizabeth Hospital for treatment of their injuries. Hawkins later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital, but the 21-year-old unidenti­fied female is in critical but stable condition after suffer­ing multiple gunshot wounds to her upper body.

Detectives interviewed witnesses and identified a possible suspect in the deadly family disturbance, 26-year-old Beaumont resident Joe Frederick Hawkins. Hawkins fled the scene of the crime, and it was reported at the time that he was last seen driving a silver 2002 or 2003 Buick Century, Texas license plate DS4P770, with dark tinted windows and missing a rear passenger-side hubcap. Beau­mont police, with assistance from the U.S. Marshal’s Office and the Port Arthur and Groves police depart­ments, eventually caught up with Hawkins in Groves where he was taken into cus­tody at the Southwind Inn on East Parkway without further incident.

According to BPD Sgt. Rob Flores, Hawkins was arrested on an aggravated assault warrant for the shoot­ing of the 21-year-old victim, who a family friend said was the suspect’s girlfriend. He is currently in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on a $1 million bond. Flores said that, as of press time, capital murder charges are pending but are expected to follow shortly. He also noted that Hawkins made a short statement to police at the time of his arrest, but Sgt. Flores could not speak as to motive. According to a database search, Hawkins was previ­ously arrested for aggravated assault stemming from an Oct. 11, 2008 incident, but the charge was dismissed.

Johnny Broussard lives next door to the family home on South Fourth Street where the three siblings and their acquaintance were shot. A friend of the Hawkins family, Broussard said he was stunned by the tragic turn of events that stole three lives and devastat­ed the entire family.

“I was really shocked about it,” Broussard said. “Everything was normal before then. I definitely would not have expected it to happen, and I don’t under­stand why he shot them, his own brothers and sister. No matter what had happened, they were family.”

Broussard said Hawkins reportedly checked into the Groves’ motel under his own name using his own license and speculated that the accused shooter knew police would soon catch up to him.

“He had to know they were coming for him,” Broussard surmised.

If convicted of capital mur­der, Hawkins faces the death penalty.

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