A shooting in Orange County on Saturday, June 7, started with a disagreement and ended in the death of one Vidor resident, deputies report.
At approximately 10:15 a.m. Saturday morning, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office received a 9-1-1 call in reference to a shooting at a residence in the 400 block of Florence Street near Vidor. When deputies arrived at the location, they discovered 60-year-old Ronald Thomas Barnes deceased from several apparent gunshot wounds. The actual homeowner, identified by police as 47-year-old Steven James Coutee, was at the residence when deputies arrived. Coutee reportedly told police that the two men were at the residence when they got into a disagreement that escalated to the point that they each produced a firearm. According to the news release from OCSO, Coutee shot Barnes and then called 9-1-1.
Justice of the Peace Janice Menard arrived on scene with investigators and ordered an autopsy of the deceased.
Coutee is cooperating with investigators, and no arrest has been made at this time. Deputies are still trying to determine all the circumstances that led up to the death of Ronald Barnes. Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson said investigators on the case split up to "go down different rabbit holes" in order to find all the facts of the complicated incident. Because Barnes was killed, he cannot corroborate Coutee's account of the events that led up to the fateful shooting. All investigators have to go on are Coutee's story and the story told by the physical evidence.
"At this point, we haven't arrested the guy because there is obviously more to it," Hodgkinson explained. "At this time, we don't have enough to say either way (whether an arrest will be made). We are still trying to get to the bottom of what happened."
The investigation is ongoing and more information will be released as it becomes available.