WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — Westerly police say the suspect in a deadly shooting is still on the run, and they believe family members may be helping him elude authorities.
Louis Seignious Jr., 31, of Norwich, Conn., is being sought by police in connection with the shooting death of Vincent Sebastian, 28, of Ledyard, Conn.
The shooting was reported close to 4 p.m. Saturday at 11 B Marriott Ave. in Westerly. Police said officers arrived to find Sebastian suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Multiple attempts were made to revive the victim, according to police, but he was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later.
Police say an autopsy will be completed on Monday.
Westerly Chief Shawn Lacey told Eyewitness News the two men are cousins and were recently released from jail after they were arrested in connection with a Connecticut home invasion. There were “tensions” between them ever since, according to Lacey.
Prior to the shooting, Sebastian was attending a child’s birthday party at another location in Westerly but he and Seignious were communicating on the phone throughout, Lacey said. The shooting then took place a short time after he returned from the party.
Police said aside from the victim, there were two adults and three children inside the home at the time of the shooting. A friend of Sebastian’s and a female resident witnessed the violence, saying Seignious allegedly shot the Sebastian at the front door after “words were exchanged.”
According to Lacey, it’s unclear at this time where the children were when the violence occurred but he said he’s “sure they heard it happen.” No one else was harmed.
Lacey also noted that both men have been romantically involved with the female resident at one point in time. Sebastian had been dating the woman for at least three months prior to the shooting and while her relationship with Seignious is unclear, the two have a 1-year-old child together.
“We’ve been working with, well, attempting to work with the family to possibly track down the suspect in his whereabouts in his location,” Lacey said.
“The investigation becomes more challenging because we’re dealing with family on both sides,” he added. “Our goal is to detain him without anyone else getting hurt.”
Following the shooting, Mashantucket Tribal Police began pursuing a vehicle with Seignious inside. Police said at one point, he got out and ran off into a wooded area in Ledyard.
Police in Ledyard have obtained a warrant to search the vehicle, according to Lacey, while Westerly police will also get a warrant for once the vehicle crosses the state border.
Over the weekend, Westerly police obtained an extraditable warrant for Seignious on a charge of first-degree murder, meaning he can be arrested no matter what state he’s in. Police said in addition to Westerly, Norwich and Ledyard, he has ties to Providence and Mashantucket, a tribal reservation in southeastern Connecticut.
Police did not recover a weapon from the scene, Lacey said, so Seignious is considered to be armed and dangerous.
Additional and amended charges against him may be forthcoming as police continue to investigate.
Since children were home at the time of the shooting, the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) was notified, and because the suspect and victim were related, the murder is defined as domestic violence.
The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County released a joint statement on Monday saying their hearts go out to Sebastian’s family and friends.
“This tragedy calls on us to recognize violence happens not only between spouses and dating partners, it also happens between cousins, siblings, parents and their adult children, step-relatives, in-laws and cohabitants,” the statement read.
The two agencies issued a reminder about the resources available to people who may be in an abusive relationship or children who have witnessed domestic violence. The 24-hour helpline can be reached at 800-494-8100.