A 22-year-old Texas man is accused of shooting up the temporary housing complex he was staying at, killing four of his roommates.
Lively James Stratton was arrested on suspicion of four counts of murder following the alleged shooting, which killed 39-year-old Bobby Wyatt, 33-year-old Elijah Rideau, 32-year-old Alvin Lee Bellard, and 23-year-old Shannon Sutton.
“It’s tragic and it’s senseless, and it just added so much more grief to our area going though Tropical Storm Imelda, and the damage it wreaked on our community,” officer Carol Riley, a spokesperson for Beaumont Police Department, told Oxygen.com.
“We’re hurting for our community,” she added. “This is not easy for anyone. There’s just nothing like it. I don’t wish it on anybody. I just keep praying for peace for our community and others.”
Officers arrived on the 4100 block of Highland Ave. shortly after noon on Sunday responding to reports of gunshots. Two of Stratton’s roommates were pronounced dead on scene. His other two roommates were transported to the hospital, but died shortly after.
Riley said it’s unknown what motivated the shooting or how long the four had been sharing living quarters, noting Stratton refused to speak with investigators.
“It was an ongoing disturbance with them,” she explained. “There was some ongoing fighting in between the people that were living there. [Stratton] basically left and returned and killed everyone in there.”
The quadruple homicide, Riley said, has rocked Beaumont, a small city of roughly 120,000 people that’s about 85 miles northeast of Houston.
"I just want him back," Roslyn Sutton, the mother of Shannon Sutton, told local outlet 12News.
"He's not here,” she added. “I'm just so hurt.”
His 24th birthday was Tuesday, according to 12News.
"Like right now, he would probably want to see me smiling, but it hurts 'cause he is not here,” Sutton's sister Nagee Sutton told the outlet.
“He was young," she added. "When they said it might have looked like a body like him, my heart dropped because he didn't answer the phone. And when they came out and told me, I just kept thinking he wasn't there but he was there."
Sutton, a father, also had a 3-year-old daughter.
“My son didn't get a chance to see her grow up,” the shooting victim’s mother added. “It's just hard, it's just hard.”
Police described the duplex where Stratton was staying as a “dilapidated trap house” that temporarily housed tenants “at the worst points of their life” and those “down on their luck.” The place was well-known, Riley said, for housing drug addicts on a month-to-month basis.
“There’s a lot of people in and out of there,” Riley said. “They’re in their most troubled times and can’t necessarily find housing anywhere else.”
Stratton is being held on a bond of $4 million, according to online court records. A court date hasn’t yet been set. Charges were still being prepared against him as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Jefferson County authorities.
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