Family of St. Gabriel shooting victims calls grand jury ruling unfair

Family of St. Gabriel shooting victims calls grand Jury ruling unfair

ST. GABRIEL, LA (WAFB) - A grand jury's decision not to send the son of St. Gabriel's police chief to trial has left the family of two shooting victims frustrated.

The grand jury determined Thursday that there is not enough evidence to formally charge Kevin Ambeau Jr. in connection with the shooting deaths of Dominique Dunbar, 26, and his brother, Rove Lodge, 30, at a home in St. Gabriel on May 10.

The Office of the Louisiana Attorney General wanted to charge Ambeau with two counts of second-degree murder. Officials said Ambeau shot and killed the brothers at his girlfriend's trailer on Martin Luther King Parkway.

"It was just so unfair; it was biased to me," said Bobbie Dunbar, the victims' aunt. "They already had the conviction when we went there. We went there for show."

A few months ago, the victims' mother asked that the AG's office take on the case. She feared that Ambeau's father's position in the community may bias the court proceedings. While the AG's office did ultimately take on the case, she still felt bias influenced the decisions.

"I feel like the verdict was made before ... he [the AG's lawyer] took the case over," said Angela Stewart. "It was a done deal."

"If it had been the other way around, my nephew would have been in prison. They really need to bring this case in another parish, East Baton Rouge, somewhere else. St. Gabriel, Iberville Parish should have nothing to do with this," Dunbar added.

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said he does not believe bias influenced Thursday's outcome.

"I trust the citizens of Iberville Parish to make the right decision," Stassi said. "That's how the criminal justice system was founded."

Stassi added he believes Ambeau was acting out of self-defense when he shot the brothers, saying he thought the brothers acted as aggressors when they arrived at the trailer.

"There's some degree of understanding that you have sanctity in your own home," Stassi explained.

The family does not agree with that assessment of the incident.

"The minute he stepped off his doorstep, he became the aggressor," said Lauren Dunbar, the victims' sister. "How can you not charge him with nothing?"

"It hurts me to the pits of my stomach because no matter how much you try to pray and don't want to hold animosity against people, you really want justice," Bobbie Dunbar commented.

Ambeau's father, St. Gabriel Police Chief Kevin Ambeau Sr., issued the following statement after the grand jury ruling:

I have always been taught that America has the greatest justice system in the world. As a law enforcement officer, I believe in and respect our criminal justice system. The Grand Jury is an integral part of our system. The twelve men and women of the Grand Jury heard the evidence submitted by the State and deliberated and determined that there was not sufficient evidence to charge my son with a criminal offense. As a father, I am relieved that my son was not charged with any criminal offense; however at the same time I am still saddened about the incident and still keep the family of the victims in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that the St. Gabriel community will continue to heal from this tragic incident.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office said the case is closed from a criminal law standpoint.

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