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Beaumont Police searching for person of interest in Sunday night fatal apartment shooting

Joseph Freeman, 18, of Beaumont is currently on bond for deadly conduct-discharge firearm and evading and unlawfully carrying a weapon.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Beaumont Police Detectives are looking for a person of interest in a homicide that happened Sunday at the Virginia Estates apartment complex in the South End.

Joseph Freeman, 18, of Beaumont is currently on bond for deadly conduct-discharge firearm and evading and unlawfully carrying a weapon, according to a news release from the Beaumont Police Department.

Ronald Babino Jr., 23, of Port Arthur, Charles Verdine Jr., 19, of Beaumont and a 16-year-old boy have already been arrested on murder charges for their connection with the shooting death of Richard Shillow, 31, of Beaumont. 

The two men are each being held on $1 million bonds at the Jefferson County Correctional Facility in connection. 

No bond information has been released on the juvenile who is being held at the Minnie Rogers Juvenile Detention Center.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article misidentified Ronald Babino as "Donald." 12News received incorrect information and regrets the error.)

Two other teens, both 14-year-old boys, have each been charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon and evading police on foot. Beaumont Police said those charges could change as the investigation continues.

Beaumont Police said over the past few years, they have seen an increase in crimes involving juveniles.

Officers were sent to the apartment complex just before 7:30 p.m. Sunday for a shots fired call and when they arrived they found Shillow suffering from gunshot wounds according to a Beaumont Police Department news release.

Shillow was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont where he was pronounced dead a short time later police said.

Police obtained surveillance video during their investigation that showed what they believed to be two of the suspects and their car according to the news release.

About four hours after the shooting at 11:30 p.m. a Beaumont officer was flagged down at a gas station in the 3000 block of Cardinal drive about a truck theft that had just happened.

During the auto theft investigation police received surveillance video that appeared to show that the suspects and the car from the murder were also involved in the truck theft the release said.

The victim from the truck theft was able to track their truck and officers intercepted it in the Avenues neighborhood of Beaumont.

Officers chased the truck for a short time before it stopped at The Woodlands apartment complex in the 3100 block of Cardinal Drive.

Two suspects stayed with the truck and were arrested while three of the suspects ran from the truck and were caught with the assistance of a Beaumont Police K9 the release said.

One of the three that ran was caught quickly and the other two were caught a short time later police said.

Police said they believe crimes such as these are not done at random and usually involve a friend, family member or some type of drug interaction. However, a motive for Saturday's murder is unclear.

From a Beaumont Police news release: 

Beaumont Police Detectives are looking for Joseph Freeman, an 18 year old Beaumont resident. Freeman is a person of interest in the homicide at 2250 W. Virginia. He is currently on bond for Deadly Conduct-Discharge firearm, evading and unlawfully carrying a weapon. If you know the whereabouts of Joseph Freeman, contact Beaumont Police at 409-832-1234 or Southeast Texas Crime Stoppers at 409-833-TIPS (8477). You may also submit a tip by downloading the P3 Tips app on your smartphone. All tips are anonymous and you may be eligible for a cash reward.

GET NEWS & WEATHER ALERTS | Download the 12News App to your mobile device  

CRIME STOPPERS | Submit a tip @ 833Tips.com 

CRIME STOPPERS APP | Download the P3 Tips App 

If you have information about a crime you could earn a cash reward of up to $1000 by providing an ANONYMOUS tip to Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas. 

Call 833-TIPS (8477) or download the P3Tips App on your mobile device to submit your tip anonymously. 

This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information. 

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