Recaptured escapee confesses to Port Arthur murder

Recaptured escapee confesses to Port Arthur murder

A 23-year-old Port Arthur man is in jail after initially escaping arresting officers and later reportedly confessing to murder while in police custody on aggravated assault charges, reports the Port Arthur Police Department.

PAPD Detective Patrick Britton said St. Mary’s emergency room personnel contacted police regarding a victim of a gunshot wound at about 1:30 a.m. on July 16. The man, identified by police as 37-year-old Port Arthur resident Jafar A. Hill, reportedly had suffered a single gunshot wound the face, and the bullet had come to rest in his neck area. Hill was conscious and in stable condition but later had to be transferred to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Beaumont for possible surgery.

Before he was transferred, officers interviewed Hill, who told them the shooting had occurred in the 1200 block of 12th Avenue and identified 23-year-old Jose Esquivel of Port Arthur as the shooter in the incident.

According to the initial news release from PAPD, investigating officers located several items of evidence, including the weapon used in the shooting. The preliminary investigation and evidence found at the scene led them to believe the shooting was drug related. The victim himself had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for violating his parole in commission of a drug-related offense, reports PAPD.

Officers went after gunman Esquivel and caught up with him a few hours later. However, police report that Esquivel was then able to slip out of a handcuff while in the back of a patrol car and escape custody – but not for long. A few hours after his escape, PAPD reports, Esquivel was rearrested and back in custody.

While still searching for the escaped Esquivel at about 6:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to the intersection of 15th Street and Sixth Avenue in Port Arthur regarding an unresponsive male inside a vehicle. When they arrived, they discovered 25-year-old Port Arthur resident Denzel Jervon Washington deceased inside the vehicle and displaying apparent head trauma. Preliminary autopsy results revealed he was shot in the head.

Detectives and officers of PAPD interviewed friends, family and acquaintances of Washington to try to piece together what happened and identify a homicide suspect. Once they got Esquivel back into custody, it did not take long for him to come clean, confessing to Washington’s murder, PAPD reports.

Police believe Esquivel is responsible for both shootings, which they say are otherwise unrelated, but police did say that Esquivel is believed to have targeted the victims.

A criminal database search revealed Esquivel has a previous misdemeanor arrest for failure to identify and that Washington, the homicide victim, had spent time in TDCJ for possession of a controlled substance and probation violation.

Esquivel is charged with evading arrest, escape, aggravated assault and murder. He remains in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on half a million dollars in bonds.